K’Naan – Somalia

KNAAN is an artist who came to the United States as a refugee at the young age of 14. His homeland is the country of Somalia. He is an artist who does a great job of balancing both his African roots as well as his roots in America as an immigrant. The song that I will be using for this blog is called Somalia, from his Troubadour album. This album was  a tribute to his motherland. In this song,  the artists describes the very raw reality of hardship and violence in the country through his vivid lyricism. He paints a picture with his words of a young girl who had the potential to become anything a doctor or model,  but instead picked up a gun. He talks about how pirates are terrorizing the ocean and how everyday where he’s from there is some sort of commotion and unrest. He stays true to his African roots by telling these stories so that he doesn’t forget where he came from and to bring awareness. My favorite part of the song is “Do you see why it’s amazing When someone comes out of such a dire situation And learns the English language Just to share his observation? ” K’naan as an artist has come a long way on his journey to where he is today as a recognized artist internationally. He represents his American immigration roots by learning and producing music in the English language. He also has expanded his music to include collaborations with American artists such as Nas, Nelly Furtado and others which speaks volumes to his career expansion. But like most artist who get signed at some point there becomes a sacrifice. He has three recorded albums, the first two were done without any outside control and the third he began to have label influence. During a meeting he had with the label they encouraged him to keep his American audience happy, because they don’t want to hear about violence and trouble in Somalia. According to The New York Times, “And for the first time, I felt the affliction of success. ” He began to compromise his sound a bit in order to please others and now he is trying to figure out a way to continue to produce his most authentic sound while staying true to the diaspora. 

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