The Tryout: K'naan
It should be interesting to see how the hard core rappers of America react to K'Naan. His look is anything but tough, he has guests like Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and old school hip hop MC Chubb Rock who says he doesn't need to use the N or the B word. Seems like an easy target. Of course, there is the larger fact that K'Naan came from Somalia and knows what struggling, poverty, and war really means.
In the opening cut off of "Troubadour", K'Naan basically lays down the law. He says that his people in Somalia and Nigera think US MC's come off as pussies and adds, "We don't give a fuck about your groupies." Even in interviews, he's not afraid to call our American gangster rappers little more than jokes.
"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?" from NPR
Thankfully, K'Naan is more than just braggadocio. He hopes for peace in songs like "Waving Flag". A song like "ABC's" will hopefully let Americans realize the opportunities they have. That being said, let's not pretend that the underclass of America should be sitting around happy. We still have a lot of work to do to make sure all children have the same chance at reach the American Dream. The song "America" with Mos Def and Chali 2na also bemoans the US mindset.
Hopefully, K'Naan can help usher in a new era of hip hop that isn't just about throwing money around. The Flossin' Era needs to come to an end. Let's get some more intelligent rap or at least a mix of more subjects than booze, babes, and how bad you are.
To check out the album, clock on the link on the top right of this page (SoulHonky Recommends). Here's a video from his first album: