“A talented artist that isn’t afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve” (PopMatters), Somali-Canadian K’NAAN’s inventive take on hip hop is earning him international acclaim.
Born in Somalia, Keinan Abdi Warsame and his family lived in that country during the Somali Civil War. His family was one of the last to be able to leave the country in 1991 before the U.S. Embassy closed. They lived in New York for a brief time before moving to Canada. K’NAAN learned English through hip hop albums and quickly became a vital part of Canada’s music scene.
In 2005 K’NAAN released The Dusty Foot Philosopher, which focuses on his experiences as a child in Somalia and contrasts the poverty and violence in Africa with that of Western countries. The CD is “full of unusual rhymes and images, bursting with the fresh insights of a wide-eyed writer for whom English is his second language” (The Observer). The CD won the 2006 Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year and earned K’NAAN the BBC Radio Award for World Music newcomer of the year. The Dusty Foot Philosopher has since been re-released internationally.
K’NAAN’s second release, Troubadour, picks up where his debut left off and is bringing the artist even more international attention. Troubadour “is a smart fusion of influences” (Boston Globe) that contains “richly detailed rhymes” (Entertainment Weekly). Billboard wrote “K’Naan’s singular take on the parallels between Africa and America is the strongest thread running through this diverse, socially alert and frequently brilliant sophomore disc.”