I can’t remember where I read it, but I vaguely recall someone predicting big things from hip-hop in 2009… Anyway, we’re barely a week in and the new K’naan album Troubadour has come across my radar. An official release date hasn’t been announced, but his site claims it will drop in early ’09. After hearing these tracks it can’t come soon enough. Simply put, they’re fucking sick. He’s got something to say, he knows how to say it and he does just that over production form-fitted to the emcee. Sign me up.
All my smugness aside, these songs really are awesome and I can’t wait for this album to come out. I would not be surprised if mainstream hip-hop started going abroad to find talented emcees who are using rap music to voice their struggles. When NWA experienced massive success in the early ’90s they were simply bringing to the national forum the issues that inner cities in the US were dealing with. I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that this same cycle of art-reflecting-life can play itself out again in a different setting. Wing on over to npr and give a listen to the song “Dreamer” if you’re looking for more that what’s on his site or posted here, it’s worth it.
Also, according to his myspace, the tracks “Somalia,” “ABCs” and “Dreamer” are all now available on iTunes in the US and Canada. I apologize to our non North American readers.