Wednesday, March 25, 2009

K'naan - Troubador - Album Review

I first got put on to K'naan through Myspace a couple of years ago and later through DJ Edu's show on BBC 1XTRA. Born in Mogadishu, Somalia and currently residing in Toronto, K'naan drops his second full length effort Troubador, following his well accepted international debut Dusty Foot Philosopher. During his first release, he would soon go on tour with the Marley brothers Stephen and Damian, and would later spend four months at the late Bob Marley's house and recording studios to put together this release, with Stephen as a "spiritual producer" of the album. Guests include Mos Def, Chubb Rock, Chali 2na (Jurassic 5), Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett, Damian Marley and an L.A. children's choir.

I first have to speak for a minute on the country of Somalia..After doing some research, it seems that K'naan has alot to speak on in regards to his homeland. I'm talking about REAL pirates in the oceans. Story says (if you may not have heard) that European firms began dumping toxic waste around the shores of Somalia, so they took matters into their own hands by hijacking anyone who comes near their waters, while holding them for a huge ransom.Couple that with a collapsed government and youth running around with guns and you have a few of the realities of Somalia.

Ok, back to the music..This album definitely has the proverbial "something for everyone" in terms of styles that weave in and out of hip hop, rock, pop, traditional Ethio/Somali music, and folk, but what I like most about this album is that K'naan manages to reflect, be totally honest, and straightforward about life, love, and struggle (in a believable way) while still having fun, attributes all needed in today's music. Much props to the brother for pulling off a multi-genre album that doesn't come off as overproduced, watered down or just plain corny. Pick this one up through the links on his myspace page, and check out the videos and singles as well.

Junior Star gives Troubador a 6.5 out of 7 head nods.

Top Tracks:
T.I.A. - Straight up party starter, call and response, great opening track.

ABCs - (feat. Chubb Rock) - K'naan+Treat Em Right sample+ Chubb Rock=Classic.

Bang Bang (feat. Adam Levine) - Reminds me of when I used to rock out to Duran Duran back in the day, pre-hip hop era..

America (feat. Mos Def and Chali 2na) - Favorite Track. My wife: "How is it that Mos Def is always on the freshest beats?"

15 Minutes Away - Funny track about receiveing and sending money via Western Union..brings back old college memories..

Fire In Freetown - 2nd favorite Track. Dope song all singing and no raps.

I have to give a SUPER shout out to my son who requests (and absolutely wilds out to) this album and videos everyday.

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Blogger ChocLitLuvJoi said...

Touched this album a few months ago and listened to it while I wasn't really paying attention, thought it was cool. After seeing the review I came back however, and I think the album is truthful and well put together. I'm more so in love w/ the "B-side" though.

Somalia- I really love the true story telling done here. The track is pretty simple w/ enough treatment for one to bounce along.

America- dope track. Very fitting that Mos is on it, I could see him in a movie w/ this instrumental being played during one of his scenes. "Now back to this country of the educated, where people get robbed and they celebrate it"...good line.

Fatima-so beAutifully real. His flow is mad sick here[especially the 1st verse]. The strumming of the guitar...lovely.

Fire in Freetown- love the acoustics. Reminds me of, and sounds like an Ayo track. *will look up production notes later*

Take a minute- starts of strong w/ that powerful quote. Has you rocking/swaying from side to side w/in the 1st 5 seconds.

15mins away- Ha! love it. College just flashed in my memory. I actually have ALL of my western union receipts to calculate from $JA to $US to see how much I owe my parents. I love the organ sound on the track...

People like me- another lovely biographical track. I'm really impressed w/ his album.

T.I.A- I like this one cuz it reminds me of a track called "Simma Down", so basically the chorus.

ABC's- the booty mover b/c of the beat & flow. Chubb Rock; wicked verse, has a gully kinda feel.

If rap gets jealous- I like how he switched up his flow here. Love the guitar riff.

Overall, he had great production and seemed to know exactly what he wanted his album to sound like. It doesn't sound forced, has a natural flow, more so like this was Him throughout. Very Authentic, Very diverse. Me loveee. 6/7

March 25, 2009 at 10:43 PM  

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