Don't Sleep On... K'Naan
Over the next few years we're all going to really start hearing (and feeling), the manifestastions and implications of hip hop being a truly world music. Artists like M.I.A.(Sri Lanka), TTC (France) and even M.anifest (Ghana) just start an all-day list of cats crossing seas with beats and rhymes transforming hip hop from the inside out. Well my latest hot list has K'Naan rarifying the air near the top with his sweet combination of tribal drums and completely conscious lyricism and prophetic positivity(that ain't cheesy).Like Y-Love, who I wrote about in a recent post, K'Naan is the type of artist that challenges the current hegemony of artists that currently define black music. His themes are people powered and reflect his origins as a poet out of Somalia, one of the most war-torn areas on the planet. Currently residing in Canada, his first album is a must have, 2005's The Dusty Foot Philosopher. With his latest, 2007's The Dusty Foot On The Road, we hear him hitting us with an album so crucial, focused and flat out good that I don't care how 'dusty' his feet are because he's covering the right ground, denouncing gangster-ism's posturing and triviality when held to the light of the Third World experience, his Somalian experience where:
"All Somalis know that gangsterism isn't to brag about. The kids that I was growing up with
would wear baggy
Damn! Check him in his own self...
"was born in Somalia, a country that has not had a functioning government since 1991. K'naan's family moved to Harlem after catching the last domestic flight out of Somalia and eventually settled in Ontario, Canada. Using his ability to blend Western and African influences, K'naan's music is a fusion of world music and hip-hop that borrows from the protest songs of Bob Marley, the hip-hop lyricism of Mos Def, and the storytelling traditions of Somalia. Despite the violence K'naan has experienced, his lyrics address the possibilities for positive change and peace. His album, The Dusty Foot Philosopher Deluxe Edition, will be released for the first time in the U.S. by the Bay Area-based record label, Interdependent Media on June 24, 2008."