K’naan: Somali-Canadian, conquers the world

troubadourK’naan :Who is this traveler?

By Soo P.






World cup of 2010 in Africa, we all have heard ‘when I get stronger, I will be stronger’. That was K’naan, a Somali-Canadian poet, rapper.


Somali-born rapper K’naan managed to flee the country in 1991, shortly after the outbreak of its still-ongoing civil war, K’naan means ‘traveler’ in Somalia language. Throughout his life, K’naan had experienced what is so called 3rd class life, and many of his lyrics describe what he had seen from himself, or his friends. He is well known for the plain, open, and realistic imagery in his lyrics as well as hopeful messages within them.


Troubadour, K’naan’s 3rd studio album, recorded with A & M Records, was released in 2009, and was re-released in 2010 for the World Cup theme song, ‘Wavin’ Flag’. It is made up of 14 songs, each with unique melody and lyrics all produced by K’naan himself. ‘Wavin’ Flag’ in this album was his first appearance at the Billboard Chart.


Another song in this album ‘Bang Bang’ was also what introduced him to many people: Adam Levine vocal of a very popular band, Maroon 5 had featured ‘Bang Bang’. Some other artists who had featured for K’naan’s album, Troubadour are: Chubb rock for ‘ABCs’, Damian Marley for ‘I Come Prepared’, Kirk Hammett of Metallica for ‘If Rap Gets Jealous’, and Mos Def & Chali 2na for ‘America’.


This album has such powerful messages in it. K’naan is accessing very open-hearted conversation between the listeners and himself. His most famous work, ‘Wavin’ Flag’ is also my favorite song of him. The song has passion, hope, liveliness, and energy. It was truly a perfect song for a World Cup held in Africa. Every time I hear the song, it gives me the image of the wide open field of Africa along with the memories of excitement watching the soccer games.


However, I wouldn’t recommend this album to the person who has similar taste in music as me. Other than Wavin’ Flag, this album was too intense in both message and melody for me. I usually enjoy bright or quiet urban music and hip hop is not my favorite genre. I would definitely suggest buying the album for who likes rap and hip hop, it’s got great story in the lyrics and K’naan definitely has a great voice.



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