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K'Naan

“I’m not interested in being mediocre,” declares the rapper. “If there’s not a necessity to what I’m doing, I just wouldn’t do it. If I don’t have something to add to the conversation, I’m just not gonna talk.” Luckily for us, he has plenty to say. Utilizing everything from folk guitar to the actual Hammond B3 used on Bob Marley’s Exodus, the emcee deftfully finds a balance between earnest tales of growing up and clever, braggadocio rhymes straight out of Big Daddy Kane’s rhymebook. It’s this mix, both musical and lyrical, that earned his 2006 debut album The Dusty Foot Philosopher a Juno award for Rap Recording of the Year, a BBC Radio 3 Award, and nomination for the inaugural Polaris Music Prize, Canada’s equivalent to the Shortlist Music Prize. Having spent the better part of the last two years traveling the world, taking his message directly to the people , soaking in everything from Bob Dylan to Fela Kuti to and Mos Def , Troubadour, K’naan’s latest release, is the sonic document of an artist who has a lot to share, but clearly has a lot more in the coming years. For anyone who’s said that hip-hop has nothing left to say, Troubadour proves that it all depends on where you look.

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