Daily Archives: November 24, 2010

430. K’Naan – “The Dusty Foot Philosopher”

Not surprisingly a number of my reviews begin with some variation of “I was at a festival and spied…”.  I say not surprising, because discovering new acts is very much a festival raison d’être for me.

K’Naan well and truly fits that bill.  A few days in at a Bluesfest we sort refuge at a smallish indoor tent and were mightily impressed by this Somalian Canadian fellow and his wicked rhyming.

This album captures much of what delighted us.  As K’Naan makes clear on the standout What’s Hardcore? track, his experiences in war-torn Mogadishu makes the gangsta tales from the First World pale in comparison:

K’Naan showcases a real breadth of skills and styles on here.  He shifts from pared back a capella and spoken word pieces, to much more bombastic rocky numbers.  He isn’t afraid to break into song. His roots in poetry and more traditional African music (of course, rapping shares these roots) are apparent.

This is hip-hop at its story-telling best.  It is not a ‘background music’ album, but rather a strong testament to the spread and power of the hip-hop format.

File under: Digging this philosopher’s tome