"…They looting, and everybody start shooting,
Bullshit politicians talking bout solutions, but it's all talk,
You can't go half a block with a roadblock,
You don't pay at the roadblock you get your throat shot,
And each roadblock is set up by these gangsters,
For example, the evening is a no go,
Unless you wanna wear a bullet like a logo,
In the day you should never take the alleyway,
The only thing that validates you is the AK…
So what's hardcore? Really, are you hardcore?
So what's hardcore? Really, are you hardcore?"
These are words by Somalian born hip hop artist, K'naan (his name meaning traveler in the Somali language); K'naan will be performing at Techno-Tribal Friday night, June 12th, 2009. K'naan is of MTV fame these days having toured with the likes of the Marley brothers following the release of Welcome To Jamrock in 2005. Damian Marley says that they are "players of the same team in terms of (their) mission in life, in terms of schooling people to what is really going on globally, and going on in all countries, and all culture." It's the truth in this statement that makes K'naan of even higher importance to us and hip hop music in general.
K'naan's history as a human being born into what would soon become a war torn Somalia seems the biggest influence on his lyrics and musical message. He spent most of his childhood in the Wardhiigleey district, coined "The Lake of Blood". His mother petitioned the United States embassy for an exit visa as the situation in Somalia was worsening. On the last day the US embassy remained open, K'naan and his mother received their exit visa, boarding the last commercial flight out of the country.
Upon arrival to the United States, K'naan spoke no English. He began to teach himself English through rap diction, mimicking the hip hop style phonetically. K'naan says that language has been an influential part of his development, and his lyrics reflect his awareness of how powerful language is "as a communication tool, and language as a cultural carrier." (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FMTVywsL4M)
It's interesting to note that K'naan is sober, having never even smoked pot or drank a sip of alcohol in his life. In the following Hard Knock TV interview (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPgxcyA4KtM), K'naan talks about his choice to remain sober in a predominantly non-sober scene. Obviously comfortable with himself, his persona, and his state of being, K'naan speaks of sobriety saying, "People can't believe it of me when they see photos or interviews, they say 'Man he is on…he is flying,' I am, but on life. I have a certain appreciation for life that just keeps me feeling like there is a liquid measure of happiness that I have. I can't say that I'm not depressed sometimes; I just don't do anything outside of music that will make me feel better about my life. I just do music, and that makes me feel really good."
K'naan's latest album titled, Troubadour, was released February 2009. We are overwhelmingly excited for K'naan to be with us at Techno-Tribal Friday night.
For more information about Somalia:http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/somalia.htm