Tag Archives: k’naan

Music

K’naan wins big in Canada

The Toronto Sun (one of the papers I rarely quote from) just ran an article highlighting K’Naan’s big win at the Junos.  The Junos, for you non-Canadian readers, is an award show much like the Grammy’s and is designed to celebrate the best in Canadian music.

It’s not without it’s own controversy, of course, since some people just dismiss the Junos as being irrelevant.  This year, I think they actually did a good job of awarding talent over album sales.  After all, how else can you justify snubbing Justin Bieber?

But yes, K’Naan ran away with the Junos this year, being named Artist of the Year.  That’s a huge achievement, and one that is absolutely well deserved.  He also one two more Junos, for his single Wavin’ Flag. Listen to it now.

If you’re looking to get a little bit more K’Naan, then check out what we have for you below.  The blog Vibes and Stuff had run a timely post linking to an hour-long interview K’Naan did for Q TV.  What a coincidence!

So here’s the full interview.  Oddly enough, it starts off with a special version of Wavin’ Flag done live .

This guy has had an insanely difficult life.  He grew up in war-torn Somalia, and managed to escape to the US and eventually to Canada.  He arrived speaking little English, but has managed to become one of the most respected Canadian artists of the decade.

Album Reviews Featured Music

4080Review: K’naan – Troubadour

knaan300K’Naan,the Somali-born Canadian rapper, is making huge waves right now.  With the release of his sophmore album, Troubadour, he is pretty much on top of the world.  Pitchfork loves him.  Canada loves him.  In fact, most people are  already starting to say he’s just been shaming the other rappers in the world today.

We here at 4080 have loved his breakout album, The Dusty Foot Philosopher,  but I must admit I’m a bit torn on this new effort.  He is, without a doubt, one of the realest emcees around at this point.  He literally grew up in Mogadishu and fled during the first civil war back in the early 1990s.  His mom eventually brought him to settle in Toronto, where he learned to speak English.  In fact, his love for hip hop and the melody behind the rhymes was a prime motivator for him to learn the language.  Why? So he could rap.  That’s right.  He basically learned English just so he could spit rhymes.

NPR has done some pretty good coverage of K’Naan, and this is perhaps one of my favourite quotes.  Move over 50 Cent, I think this one is aimed squarely at you.

K’Naan could not be mistaken for an American rapper: For one thing, he has a kind of vintage Bohemian look. He says he doesn’t think that American rap has much credibility, because even the toughest American neighborhoods aren’t nearly as dangerous as Mogadishu.

“Where rocket-propelled grenades are fired around you on a daily … a guy bragging on TV talking about how gangster he is?” K’Naan says. “For us, it’s more a source of entertainment. It’s more like a comedy or something we watch. Say, ‘Oh wow, that’s kind of cute of American gangsters.’ But it isn’t hardcore, it isn’t that bad. Let’s get things in perspective, you know?”

If you want to get a sense of him, you can stream some K’naan tracks from his MySpace, or you can download the live show off CBC Radio 3 here.

On a track-by-track basis, I sadly must say that I think The Dusty Foot takes the crown.  Troubadour has it’s strong moments, including the moving tracks Waving Flag and Fatima.  But when you juxtapose this with the crime that is the re-recording of If Rap Gets Jealous and the sheer abomination that is T.I.A., the album starts to lose lustre. 

Troubadour features some extremely strong guest stars, but for the most part I feel like their talents are wasted.  Chubb Rock makes a triumphant return on ABC’s, which is one of the stronger pieces on this record.  However, Mos Def and Chali 2na seem to fly under the radar on America.  It’s a song that I assumed I would like, seeing as three dope rappers were combining.  I felt a Captain Planet moment, that with their powers combined I would witness greatness.  Instead, I can only say that it was creative.  Truly, K’naan did push the enveope a little bit and America is no exception.  He raps in Somali, and makes this track sound completely different than you probably expected.

Still, no matter what  small criticisms I can aim at him, K’naan is still truly pushing the limits.  He’s expanding people’s understanding of what hip hop is.

Music

San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival looks awesome

The lineup for this festival looks unreal.  It goes on August 22nd – August 24th.  If you’re ANYWHERE near the area, you better be going.

The Outside Lands Festival is like Rock the Bells for alternative music.  They’ve got some huge names playing, from Radiohead and Beck, to Tom Petty.  For the hip hoppers, they’ve got Lupe, Little Brother, the Cool Kids, and Canada’s own K’Naan.

There are craploads more too.  Broken Social Scene will be there, Stars, even Ben Harper and Jack Johnson.  A one-day ticket will cost you $85, and you can buy them here.

RADIOHEAD
BECK
MANU CHAO
THE BLACK KEYS
COLD WAR KIDS
STEEL PULSE
LYRICS BORN
BLACK MOUNTAIN
THE FELICE BROTHERS

TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS
BEN HARPER & THE INNOCENT CRIMINALS
PRIMUS
STEVE WINWOOD
CAFÉ TACVBA
LUPE FIASCO
REGINA SPEKTOR
GALACTIC’S CRESCENT CITY SOUL KREWE
M. WARD
DEVENDRA BANHART
MATT NATHANSON
TWO GALLANTS
DREDG
SIDESTEPPER
KAKI KING
THE COUP
LIARS
DONAVON FRANKENREITER
NELLIE MCKAY
GOAPELE
SEAN HAYES
RUPA & THE APRIL FISHES

JACK JOHNSON
WILCO
WIDESPREAD PANIC
RODRIGO Y GABRIELA
BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE
ANDREW BIRD
SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS
DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS
STARS
ALO
JACKIE GREENE
THE COOL KIDS
GRACE POTTER & THE NOCTURNALS
LITTLE BROTHER
BON IVER
IVAN NEVILLE’S DUMPSTAPHUNK
THE MOTHER HIPS
NICOLE ATKINS & THE SEA
K’NAAN
BACK DOOR SLAM
CULVER CITY DUB COLLECTIVE