Artist of the Week: K’Naan
Already a critically acclaimed figure in Canadian and global hip-hop, rapper K’Naan is very quickly becoming a household name. The intensity and sincerity of his story is rivaled by few: as a child, K’Naan lived in wartorn Somalia throughout their civil war. He grew up listening to hip-hop records, which helped him learn English when he moved to Canada as an adolescent. Now, K’Naan uses his socially conscious music to help inform listeners of not only his trials and tribulations, but the importance of knowledge, engagement and hope.
K’Naan’s sophomore album, ‘Troubadour,’ follows in the footsteps of his Juno award-winning and Polaris Music Prize nominated debut, ‘The Dusty Foot Philosopher’. His current single, “Wavin’ Flag,” has already become one of this spring/summer’s hottest anthems, as it is being used both as this year’s World Cup song and as a charity single with profits benefitting Haiti (as covered by a group of Canada’s finest young musicians). With these successes under his belt, K’Naan is just beginning his journey to musical stardom.
“Somalia-raised, Toronto-based rapper K’naan thinks like Bob Marley, flows like Eminem and mixes African music with conscious hip-hop, unabashed pop and even metal.”
— Rolling Stone
Similar to: K-OS, Classified, Mos Def
“Having spent the better part of the last two years on the road, soaking in everything from Bob Dylan to Fela Kuti to Talib Kweli, Troubadour is the sonic document of an artist who has a lot to share, but clearly has a lot more in the coming years. For anyone who’s said that hip-hop has nothing left to say, Troubadour proves that it all depends on where you look.”
– Hip Hop Galaxy
“News from Somalia usually involves violent warlords, or pirates hijacking ships off the coast. Other than that, average Somalis don’t have much of a voice. But a rapper from Somalia named K’Naan is trying to change that, and in the world of hip-hop, he’s become an artist to watch.”
Watch the Young Artists for Haiti video for “Wavin’ Flag”
Watch K’Naan perform “Wavin’ Flag” acoustically on QTV
Follow K’Naan on Twitter
Learn More and Donate to Young Artists for Haiti