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Announcement :: Media
K'naan: Politically Conscious Hip-Hop on Tour w/Stephen Marley in Boston May 9th
25 Apr 2007
Come check out K'naan, a Somali-born, hip-hop artist who incorporates world music, reggae, and politically conscious lyrics with a live band and magnetic performances. Guest appearances from Mos Def and tour mates Stephen Marley and Jr. Gong are common on his current US dates. He'll be performing in Boston at the Avalon Ballroom on May 9th.
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The Dusty Foot Philosopher, K’naan’s full-length debut, is the type of record you give to people who say they hate hip hop, then dare them to resist its charms. The opening song, Wash It Down, is crafted entirely from “words and water, the most important things in the universe.” K’naan raps, gently, over a backbeat made by slapping plastic sheets laid on pools of water; to know the song’s power, open a thesaurus to “beauty” and read every entry. Blues for the Horn, hidden at the end of the album, is a stirring lament for Somalia that K’naan recorded five years ago; a baleful horn chases him across the track, its lyrics a long list of questions asking what has become of his home.

In places between Dusty Foot’s beginning and end, K’naan’s voice sounds eerily close to Eminem’s — the Detroit superstar has been his most common comparison, though their worlds could not be farther apart. The album hits hardest when K’naan reminds listeners of the differences: where Eminem would rhyme about handguns, K’naan talks about rocket-propelled grenades. His horror stories are real; the violence in his past is bigger than that of his American peers. “We got no police, ambulance or fire fighters / We start riots by burning car tires…” he raps on a song called What’s Hardcore? “I’ma spit these verses because I feel annoyed / And I’m not going to quit until I fill the void / If I rhymed about home and got descriptive / I’d make 50 Cent look like Limp Bizkit.”

Dusty Foot is one step on a life’s path. Another is performing at Live 8, where K’naan will be a true rarity: he is one of too few African artists involved in Bob Geldof’s global benefit to raise awareness of African poverty. Regardless, he aims to make the most of the opportunity. “K’naan means the traveller; Warsame means one who carries the words of peace,” he says. “Where I come from, you have to live up to your names.”

The Dusty Foot Philosopher is available in music stores now.
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