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The Dusty Foot Philosopher - K'naan

The Dusty Foot Philosopher

The Dusty Foot Philosopher
Hip-Hop hip hop rap indie reggae


Critics have said K'naan has "a sound that fuses Bob Marley, conscious American hip hop, and brilliant protest poetry." His voice and style have been compared to Eminem, but his subject matter is very different; according to K'naan, he makes "urgent music with a message", talking about the situation in his homeland of Somalia and calling for an end to violence and bloodshed. He specifically tries to avoid gangsta rap clichés and posturing, saying: “ All Somalis know that gangsterism isn't to brag about. The kids that I was growing up with [in Rexdale] would wear baggy suit pants, and a little jacket from Zellers or something, and they'd walk into school, and all the cool kids would be like, 'Ah, man, look at these Somalis. Yo, you're a punk!' And the other kid won't say nothing, but that kid, probably, has killed fifteen people. ” This statement was made to explain his position on the world of difference which exists between where he grew up, and the ghettos of the first world Nonetheless, K'naan denies that he is overtly political, instead explaining that he "[shows] the state of the world [and] if you call it like it is you're being political." His own opinion of his music is that it's a "mix of tradition and [a] kind of articulation of my own life and [..] my past experiences." K'naan has said that he is influenced by Somali music and the traditional instruments of Somalia. His most recent album, Troubadour, also draws heavily from Ethiopian sources, particularly Ethio-Jazz by Alemayehu Eshete and Tilahun Gessesse. [edit] Live Performances Prior to the release of Troubadour, K'naan performed with a small acoustic band, consisting of Rayzak (back-up vocals), Kiercey (acoustic guitar) and Mad Dog (djembe). This style was an essential element of what set K'naan apart from most hip-hop acts. More than that, it reflected K'naan's value of meaningful lyrics over shallow theatrics. Since Troubadour, K'naan has toured exclusively with a larger electric ensemble - consisting of drums, bass, electric guitar, and keyboards - and his performances now also feature elaborate lighting. This change in showmanship, along with his collaborations with such high profile artists as Adam Levine and Mos Def, has helped to shift K'naan more into the mainstream flow of the music industry and has helped him gain exposure to a wider audience.


K'naan (Keinaan, meaning traveller in Somali, born 1978) is a Somali-Canadian poet and hip-hop artist. The Coming To America Songfacts states that born in Mogadishu, Somalia, he spent his childhood there during the Somali Civil War, which began in 1991. K’naan’s grandfather, Haji Mohammad, was a poet and his aunt, Magool, one of Somalia's most famous singers. The young Somalian acquired an early interest in hip-hop from the records that were sent to him from America by his father. Show more ...

The Dusty Foot Philosopher - K'naan

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