Sunday, May 24, 2009

K'Naan: This Is Africa

The mighty K'Naan plays Cargo this Tuesday - definitely, defintely go and see him if you can.

This is latest track, which is sounding AMAZING in the sun right now. The video is directed by Nabil Elderkin, who has also done great videos for Kanye and Mr. Hudson

K'NAAN "T.I.A" music video directed by: NABIL from nabil elderkin on Vimeo.

Here's an interview I did with the Somali spitter back in 2007, might explain a bit more where he's coming from:

K’Naan: Life After Death

It’s Sunday, the sound system it shocking and the room is sticky, sweaty and far too full. Regardless of such un-conducive conditions, it takes around three seconds for the slender young mikeman to get hands and feet aloft as 200-odd heads capitulate completely to the mishmash of militant drums and conscious couplets. “It’s really about the live experience for me,” says softly spoken Somali spitter K’Naan (pron: Kay-Nan) after his show. “The live thing is really where I’m living, where I’m at.”

It maybe about the stage for him, but for an ever-growing army of admirers, including Mos Def and Damien Marley, it’s also about his recently released debut album, The Dusty Foot Philosopher. A blend of edgy witticisms and in-your-face bass, K’Naan brilliantly balances the dark, disturbed side of human nature with light-hearted lyricisms and mind-pummelling punch-lines. “If I rhyme about home and got descriptive, I’d make 50 Cent look like Limp Bizkit,” he jibes on What’s Hardcore. “We begin our day by way of the gun, rocket-propelled grenades blow you away if you front…”

Born in embittered Mogadishu, the 28-year olds unimaginable life reads like a film script that is less Get Rich… more Survive Or Die Tryin’... Eschewing tales of kilos and keys, grills and girls, K’Naan’s debut details a first-hand, up-close childhood consisting of bullets, bombs and bloodshed. “It was, and still is still the most dangerous city in the world,” he says of Mogadishu, which has been torn apart by civil war since colonization. “There’s been a lot of extreme experiences and dealing with my own memory has been hard.” By the age of 14, K’Naan had blown up his school after mistaking a stray grenade for a rotten potato, seen entire towns ravaged by fighting, dodged bullets that took the lives of three close friends and somehow survived in a country that has more guns than people. “When you go through vivid experiences like – explosion here, everyone dies, you survive – it can start to become a burden rather than a fortune. You wonder ‘Why me?’ It took me a long time to feel good about that and see I survived for a reason.”

Eventually escaping to Canada in his mid-teens, K’Naan suffered post-traumatic stress in 2001 while touring Europe. Taking an extended break by wandering around Switzerland, France and Plymouth for a few months, he finally felt ready to return to music two years ago. Since then, the word of mouth on his rewind worthy similes has seen him tour with Mos Def, record with Damien Marley and win acclaim round the globe. The hope is now that he’ll be the first African-born rapper to be taken seriously by the likes of Fiddy and co. “I think that it’s selfish of the world to take so much from Africa yet remember only the bad things about it. Even musically it has created so much – like hip hop,” he points out before adding the last thing he seeks is American acceptance. “I didn’t have that agenda when I began recording. But, yeah, I hear that my sound is penetrating in the US. It’s Africa in the realest sense and it’s hip hop in the true sense minus corniness. It’s not lacking edge.” Less about the tired old rap adage ‘keeping it real’, K’Naan keeps it all-the-way round, 360°, 100% true. “I want to be peaceful and make some good contributions to music,” he decides. “And if it’s not good, I hope I’m wise enough to stop.”

Check K'Naan right HERE

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