K’Naan: You Can’t Buy This
For those that never heard of K’Naan, this is what you need to know: he’s like a Somalian version of Wyclef with a Slim Shady sounding voice when he raps. But his subject matter has more to do with the hardships of real life than it has to do with drugs, homosexuals and Kim. Dude’s been flying under the radar for a hot minute, but it’s only a matter of time before he blows. For now, You Can’t Buy This is a testament to what homie can bring to the game.
On “Somalia” he sings and raps about his home country and its past and current struggles over guitar strings and a deep bass. With his “Till I Get There” it was somewhat redolent of some old school Arrested Development music (not that comedy series, f*ckers! I’m talking about the hip-hop group) with its expressive sound, unity message and R&B chorus.
With “Strugglin’,” he got on his MC ish and says, “I should be chillin’ on beaches/instead my bone freezes… the realest thing for me is/since I was a fetus/the only break I ever got was at recess/so legitimately I remained very little relieved/than them thug rappers/I remain very little intrigued/to hear you blame me/look at how we lived in the late ’80s/throwing rocks at the crazy ladies/and when we played these crazy games/the whole crew had crazy names/we even had a cripple, we used to call him Lazy Legs.” Before going into a harmonizing hook.
While I can’t say this is a straight for the streets mixtape it’s definitely an inspired by the streets mixtape. Only it wasn’t your average streets that inspire K’Naan to make this kind of music. This is like hip-hop blues music. He sings and raps about his views of life and with his words describes how his way of life’s influenced his often poetic sounding lyrics. K’Naan’s music can calm your soul while bringing thought provoking lines across in a Bob Marley-esque method.
I mean when he says, “Before I had my breakfast/I saw they murdered justice/and told me to accept it,” on the Mos Def assisted, “Prayer Song” I could only agree. Do y’all know how many bills congress passes while we sleep at night? Do y’all know y’all wake up to a new law damn near everyday? The phrase, “The revolution will not be televised” wasn’t just something that was said to sound cool. It actually means what it says. Hopefully artists like K’Naan, dead prez and Tupac will continue to inspire us to free ourselves and thoughts through music, writing, politics and any other meaningful medium we can properly express ourselves through. Think about that this weekend. Have a good one. Uno.
Hottest Joint: “Strugglin’”
Weakest Joint: “Soobax”