Troubadour

Studio Album by released in 2009
Troubadour's tracklist:
T.I.A.
ABC's (feat. Chubb Rock)
Dreamer
I Come Prepared (feat. Damian Marley)
Bang Bang (feat. Adam Levine)
If Rap Gets Jealous (feat. Kirk Hammett)
Wavin' Flag
Somalia
America (feat. Mos Def & Chali 2na)
Fatima
Fire in Freetown
Take a Minute
15 Minutes Away
People Like Me

Troubadour review

Traveling poet K’naan

Everyone would agree that poet, rapper and musician K’naan (his real name is Kaynaan Warsame) can be called a man with an unusual fate. He was born and brought up in an African state of Somalia and the first par of his childhood was signed by the years of armed conflicts. The artist’s father moved to work to the USA and mailed his earnings to his wife and children. When the situation in Somalia became critical, K’naan and his family left the native country and re-joined his father in New York. From their, the newly united family of refugees moved to Canada, where they stayed. K’naan did not know English, but he managed to learn it, listening to the albums of American rap. He left the school in senior grades in order to travel and perform at different gigs – that is why he probably calls himself K’naan, which means “stranger, traveler” in his native Somali language. Soon the gifted rapper caught the attention, and in 2005 he released his debut album The Dusty Foot Philosopher. After that, K’naan moved into a lengthy support tour. Fulfilled in the stylistics of classical American hip-hop, the disc got the prestigious Canadian prize Juno Award, while the artist himself got a name far beyond the boundaries of hospitable Canada. In 2008, the musician re-released his debut work, and later he moved to a major label in order to create his sophomore disc with the speaking title Troubadour. This album promises to be one of the most noticeable hip-hop releases of the year.

Laughter trough tears on Troubadour

Thematically, the new long-play by the artist can be divided into two categories. The first one includes philosophic tracks about K’naan’s motherland, torn by the civil war, and global problems. The second category makes the songs, that state that a person needs fun in spite of all the cruelty of this world. The disc opens with the hip-hop track T.I.A., recorded with a wise use of a sample from legendary Bob Marley. The second track ABC's (Feat. Chubb Rock) is a wonderful specimen of intellectual rapping, in which K’naan compares his real childhood reminiscences of the fights in Somalia with some gangsta rap improvisations. The funky pop track Dreamer can be added to the “lighter” part of the Troubadour songs and says that happiness and joy are possible in spite of all the issues of today’s complicated global situation. The melody I Come Prepared (Feat. Damian Marley), as one can see from the title, features Damian Marley, while the following two tracks are united by the only fact that they are both recorded with guest celebrities. Radio-friendly and hooky pop motif Bang Bang (Feat. Adam Levine) has Maroon 5’s leader, sharing vocals with K’naan, and alternative tune If Rap Gets Jealous (Feat. Kirk Hammett) was created along with Metallica’s members. The breath-keeping romantic composition Fatima is a story about love, eradicated by war. The same war theme is the core of the ethnically-sounding track Fire In Freetown.

Nostalgia for Somalia

Well, the new album by K’naan has all the secondary characteristics of the hit – a handful of guest stars, memorable melodies, intellectual lyrics, the fact that it was recorded at the legendary studio of Bob Marley and the acclaimed previous album. However, it is not all that doomed this full-length for success. This work is filled with rappers originality. It has Afro-beats, making the disc sound ethnically, autobiographic, heart-grasping lyrics and delicate, witty humor by K’naan. Actually, Troubadour is a more personal disc that its predecessor. The musician’s pity for his left motherland resulted into such a gorgeous and unusual creation as this disc. Although it has African textures and alternative sparks, Troubadour is filled with hip-hop in the moods of American classics, as the debut album of this performer. Taking in consideration the state, in which this genre is now, Troubadour will be a luxurious gift for all the rap lovers. It is doubtful that a disc like that was released in recent years, which is no wonder, as K’naan saw so much for his thirty years. Nevertheless, writing about the uneasy and amusing life of this poet and musician could take a lot of time, but the best way to understand what he means will be listening to troubadour at least one time.

Ninelle Kazakoff (11.03.2009)
Rate review3.76
Total votes - 21


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