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Saturday, February 7, 2009

K'Naan To Release New Album On February 24th

Troubadour, the second studio album by Somali-Canadian musician/emcee K'naan Warsame, is set to be released on February 24, 2009. It is the follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2005 release, The Dusty Foot Philosopher.

Recorded primarily in Kingston, Jamaica, at the legendary Tuff Gong studios and Bob Marley's home studio, Troubadour is a hip-hop album like no other. With contributions by Damian Marley, Mos Def, Chubb Rock, Vernon Reid, and Adam Levine (Maroon 5), K'naan successfully blends samples and live instrumentation for a sound that's rooted in both traditional African melodies and the classic hip-hop tradition.

It would be easy to brand K'naan with the "political rapper" tag. But that would be both easy and disingenuous. K'naan's lyrics lie in stark contrast to emcees that use their medium as a pulpit to promote their beliefs. "My job is to write just what I see / So a visual stenographer is who I be," he rhymes in "I Come Prepared." Doubtless, K'naan is not without his opinions, but songwriting always comes before sermons. "I think there are some people that are struggling in 'hoods [in Canada and America], but it is so much harder and so much more violent [in Somalia]," says K'naan. "If you want to be like, 'I'm from the hood. We got it rough. We got gats,' I think you should know the alternative exists. I'm speaking in the same language of hip-hop which decidedly speaks about rough neighborhoods. So if there is a place for rough neighborhoods, then here comes the Mother of Rough Neighborhoods."

Troubadour represents the sum of these experiences and more. Having spent the better part of the last two years on the road, soaking in everything from Bob Dylan to Fela Kuti to Talib Kweli, K'naan here releases the sonic document of an artist who has a lot to share now, but clearly a lot more to come. For anyone who's said that hip-hop has nothing left to say, Troubadour proves that it all depends on where you look.

MIMI Mambo Link: Generation Next: K'Naan