I first heard a word of him by one activist friend of mine who has been listening to this young rapper whom he referred to as dope! Then I read a blog post by him on the Somali pirates where he made the case for some of those pirates. I liked his point about how European ships having been stealing the fish resources off the coast of Somali.
K'naan put the pirate activities are put in context. That was 2009, and by 2010 K'naan was the star of Choice for Coke. They picked him to do the official Coke song in time for the World Cup in South Africa. K'naan took the coke deal and did well. Part of his contract was to appear with a number of local and global stars in doing marketing duets for the company. I know in our end Nancy Ajram did the song with him, but he went to every other country and did a song in the local language--he sang in English. Turkey, Russia and other places were on his map.
He did well for the company and was a clear choice as he would go and do all sorts of concerts...and by that he established his global brand. And thus his music followed.
A bit of information on the talented rap master:
K'naan's namesake means "traveler" in Somali, but it's a significant name in Palestine too--The natives of Palestine track themselves to their great father who was named K'naan.
K'naan was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, just as the civil unrest began to shake things off in his beloved motherland. Surival was the key thing for K'naan, his father was living in the States at the time and would send his young song rap songs all the way form the land of rap. K'naan would tune in and eventually pick his trade. At the tender age of 13 K'naan and his family mange to find their way to America to live in Harlem, shortly aftetr they would move to Ontario Canada to join a large Somali community up North. There K'naan picked up English and as he was confident he started spiting lyrics.
As most rappers would attest, skipping school plays K'naan hit the road and started performing in various venues part of the Direct Current Media. His biggest break came in the UN as he performed in 1999 in Geneva where K'naan would pile on the international organizations efforts in Somalia. There K'naan left an impression on a Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour. Youssou would later ask K'naan to contribute to his 2001 album Building Bridges. This project K'naan was able to tour a number of cities around the world.
Some of the names that K'naan collaborated with included Mos Def and Talib Kweli and a performance at the Live 8. Several collaborations and few years later cmae his much celebrated album Troubadour became K'naan's first for the major-label album. After his track "Wavin' Flag" became the anthem for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. K'naan would follow that by More Beautiful Than Silence EP arrived in 2012.
K'NAAN - Is Anybody Out There? ft. Nelly Furtado