July 2005 | The Martlet
Asked to describe his music, Canadian rapper K’naan is at a bit of a loss.
“It’s tough to describe, to be honest,” he said. “Musically, it’s something that’s kinda new. It’s a medium between two continents.”
The same could be said of K’naan himself.
Growing up in Somalia, K’naan was given hip hop records from his father, who worked as a cab driver in New York. The young, would-be MC spoke only Somali, but taught himself to mimic the American rappers perfectly.
It wasn’t until he left Somalia — on what turned out to be the last commercial flight out of the country — and moved to first the U.S. and then to Canada that he learned what the words meant.
Even more than a rapper, K’naan is a poet. It’s in his blood — his grandfather is one of Somalia’s best-known poets — and it’s how he started. In fact, it was as a spoken word poet that he first earned notoriety. Continue reading →