Kanaan Warsame – K’Naan – on BBC: Next Big Hiphop or Rap Star

Kanaan Warsame – K’Naan – on BBC: Next Big Hiphop or Rap Star. Is K’Naan aka Kanaan Warsame the next big star in the world of hiphop/rap? Well, we sure think he will be. We’re loving the guy right now and we hope he makes it big in the music biz.

Anyways, here are  some excerpts from a BBC article (by Nikki Jecks) on K’Naan which, we’re pretty sure, will thrill you K’naan fans:

On his journey: K’Naan means “traveller” in Somali and much of his music is about his personal journey from war-torn Somalia, to the streets of New York, to rapper in Canada.

Speaking to the BBC World Service about his new album, he explains why his homeland is so omnipresent in the songs.

“I don’t think you can ever really escape Somalia, once you’ve had that experience and lived in it,” he says. “A lot of my family’s still home, and I think the reflection of when I was a young boy there and also as a grown person contributing and making music, my reflections on it are still very much prominent on this album.” Tracks called Somalia and America sit side-by-side on Troubadour.

On Somali pirates: In Somalia, K’Naan challenges listeners about their preconceptions about pirates, rapping: “So what you know about the pirates terrorise the ocean? To never know a single day without a big commotion?”

He says Somalis are presented as people without reason, and he is concerned with the way the media presents piracy. “I think it is still undiscussed in the true sense of what is going on with it,” he says.

It is context that is often missing according to K’Naan.

“I really wanted to touch on it, not from the way the media has been covering it, but from the way a Somali would talk about it. I think its conveniently discussed…not in a way that is well rounded at all. A lot of the issues we talk about in western media when we’re concerned with Somalia are very much sensationalised.”

He accuses the media of telling us what has happened, but rarely why. K’Naan

It’s not just piracy that concerns him. He always agonises over his responsibility to the many members of his family that were not able to escape Somalia with he and his mother when the civil war first broke out.

“We have family members whose homes were hit by rocket propelled grenades and we have to be responsible for trying to get them into proper hospitals, if there is such a thing in Somalia. These things are daily issues and everybody is just kinda trying to survive over there.”

On his mixed music tradition: “My music does [have a profile in Somalia] but modern hip-hop music does not,” he explains. “My music mixes the traditions of Somalia to American folk protest to hip-hop. Somali’s because of the content of the music have taken to it.”

But he resists any efforts to label him a spokesperson. “Just by the nature of what I do I think people kinda respond to it…but I’m not really trying to be a spokesperson, to be honest.”

Wavin’ Flag by K’naan Lands in Billboard 100
13 March 2009

Wow. We’re really liking this K’naan guy. His single, Wavin’ Flag cracked the Billboard 100. It’s currently #99. Yay! We hope it goes up further. Lyrics of the song below.

Wavin’ Flag lyrics

When i get older, they’ll call me freedom
Just like a Waving Flag.

When I get older, I will be stronger,
They’ll call me freedom, just like a Waving Flag,
And then it goes back, and then it goes back,
And then it goes back

Born to a throne, stronger than Rome
but Violent prone, poor people zone,
But it’s my home, all I have known,
Where I got grown, streets we would roam.
But out of the darkness, I came the farthest,
Among the hardest survival.
Learn from these streets, it can be bleak,
Except no defeat, surrender retreat,

So we struggling, fighting to eat and
We wondering when we’ll be free,
So we patiently wait, for that fateful day,
It’s not far away, so for now we say


So many wars, settling scores,
Bringing us promises, leaving us poor,
I heard them say, love is the way,
Love is the answer, that’s what they say,
But look how they treat us, Make us believers,
We fight their battles, then they deceive us,
Try to control us, they couldn’t hold us,
Cause we just move forward like Buffalo Soldiers.

But we struggling, fighting to eat,
And we wondering, when we’ll be free
So we patiently wait, for that faithful day,
It’s not far away, but for now we say,

[Chorus] 2x

(Ohhhh Ohhhh Ohhhhh Ohhhh)
And everybody will be singing it
(Ohhhh Ohhhh Ohhhhh Ohhhh)
And you and I will be singing it
(Ohhhh Ohhhh Ohhhhh Ohhhh)
And we all will be singing it
(Ohhh Ohh Ohh Ohh)

[Chorus] 2x

When I get older, when I get older
I will be stronger, just like a Waving Flag,
Just like a Waving Flag, just like a Waving flag
Flag, flag, Just like a Waving Flag