Date of Interview: 12/17/2008
© 2008 Clayton Perry
In the age of Obama, mainstream rap could really use a facelift. To be certain, rap music is not wholly negative or debasing, but the genre—as a whole—has gotten a bad reputation. Luckily, the scent of “change” is in the air.
Far across the Atlantic in the nation of Somalia, Kaynaan Warsame was introduced to hip hop through the lyrical stylings of Eric B. and Rakim. Even though K’Naan could not understand English at the time, his heart thumped along with the pulse of Paid in Full. And as fate would have it, music proved itself to be the universal language that transcends all cultures. Soon enough, K’Naan would hone his rapping skills, master the English language and gain respect across the globe as the “dusty foot philosopher.”
Minute by minute, as the world grows smaller, K’Naan’s narrative puts an international face on the burgeoning hip hop movement. Upon review of Troubadour, his sophomore release, K’Naan managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on Bob Marley, Illmatic and his infamous UN performance.