Music Reviews

Universal, Rs 295

From a travelling poet

His debut album, The Dusty Foot Philosopher, won the 2006 Juno Award for rap recording of the year.

His latest album, Troubadour, delivers. The album features a number of guest artistes including Kirk Hammett, Chubb Rock, Chali 2na, Mos Def, Damian Marley, and Adam Levine.

The opening track, T I A, has a Bob Marley sampler innovatively used.  ABCs, the explosive second track, contains anthemic sounds layered with vocal harmonies, horns, and percussive flare. Somalia is  an ode to the war-torn country from which K’naan fled as a boy.

It features a child-like chorus of voices that lends the song a tribal feel. K’naan makes you feel the pain of his upbringing.

The Somali expat’s lyrics are explicit and a mix of violent personal history. Yet, there are moments of melodic chorus like Dreamers and 15 minutes away. Wavin’ Flag, has a world/ soul sound and stands out. If Rap Gets Jealous features Kirk Hammett of Metallica, K’Naan successfully blends samples and live instrumentation for a sound rooted in traditional African melodies and the classic hip hop tradition. Unlike many rappers, K’Naan enunciates his words well. Troubadour means a travelling poet and indeed he is a poet.

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