K'Naan Discusses Nas' Comments About Africa And Explains Why Other Rappers Backgrounds "Can't Hold A Candle" To His

Exclusive: The Somali spitter expands on Nasir's breakdown of the divide between Africans and African-Americans and explains why fictionalized street talk can't compare to his real-life experiences.

A nation of millions may have been attempting to hold Public Enemy back during the height of Hip Hop’s protest era, but Chuck D never had to continuously defend 10 million of his fellow countrymen the way K’Naan has found himself having to over the last few years.

Never before has a Hip Hop artist found themselves in the position that the Somalia-born emcee has, forced to speak up against the misinformation that American media – both liberal and conservative – churns out about his homeland almost 20 years after the infamous “Black Hawk Down” incident every time that a story of Somali pirates attacking ships of western origin is used to frighten consumers of mainstream media into accepting the narrative that every Somali is a gun-toting savage seeking to rob and kill any foreigner who dare step foot in the east African nation.

But K’Naan has bravely embraced his role as one of the most vocal advocates for his people. And while his occasional flirtations with more mainstream friendly tracks (ala the Nelly Furtado featured “Is Anybody Out There?” ) may have confused the casual listener into believing they were not hearing the sound of a revolutionary rhymer, further inspection of K’Naan’s impressively diverse catalog reveals an evocative emcee defiantly saying something when most of his contemporaries are content saying nothing, creating, as the title of his just-released EP states, a sound More Beautiful Than Silence.

The Toronto transplant spoke to HipHopDX about the meaning behind the rhymes of some of the selections from his first formal release since his 2009 breakthrough, Troubadour. K’Naan also shared his thoughts on distant relative Nas’ recent comments regarding the long strained relationship between Africans and African-Americans, and provided some illumination on the image American media outlets (and possibly even the American President) have propagated about his fellow Somalians. And finally, the artist who has witnessed firsthand the effects of famine and violence in what is one of the most dangerous and depressed regions of the world explained why gangsta posturing rappers “can’t really hold a candle to the kind of experiences I’m talking about.”

HipHopDX: I was just watching your video from a few years back for “Somalia” and it hit me that those couple bars – “A lot of mainstream niggas is yappin’ about yappin’ / A lot of underground niggas is rappin’ about rappin’ / I just wanna tell you what’s really crack-a-lackin’” – those lines are probably gonna prove to be the summation of this generation of Hip Hop, and hell, the way things are going, maybe the next generation in this Rap shit too.      
 
K’Naan: Yeah, well, that’s real, man. That’s kinda just the state of things right now. I hope not for too long, but …

DX: Now on “Somalia” you mention “the pirates terrorize the ocean,” and the news just broke today of a group of Somali pirates who allegedly kidnapped two western aid workers and held them for ransom being killed by U.S. Navy Seals in a raid. Can you offer any illumination on whether or not a situation like this is as the media is portraying it: that this is just another instance of depraved pirates? Or is there more to the story?
 
K’Naan: Well, I don’t know, it could very well be that it’s actually what is being said. There are a lot of people in the waters [though] that are coming out of real desperate situations. Anybody who’s out there risking their lives – These guys don’t know the ocean like that. They’re often from the city. And so to just get on a small, tiny little motorboat and to try to chase down ships to take over, knowing that there’s a good chance you’ll be killed either in the ocean or by whatever, that’s a desperate situation. It’s kind of suicidal really. [But] that’s what a lot of people are doing right now. A lot of people are coming from that kind of desperation. And so, it could very well be the story as is being told, but there are a lot of stories to be told in that world.          

DX: You noted on your new single with Nas, “Nothing To Lose” , “No, I don’t know pilots / Nigga, I know pirates,” and recently Nas himself was quoted in reference to situations like today’s news, saying, “There’s horror stories about Africa that’s out of this world … but I went there and I figured out that there’s been a lot of lies told to American people about what’s going on there.” I know you’re not an American citizen, but I just feel compelled to ask you if you think President Obama has proven himself to be part of that propaganda machine in regards to your homeland?

K’Naan: Well, listen, I think the propaganda machine is us, as human beings. I think we often seek out the kind of information that suits us best. So why we know about certain things that favor our own opinions is just really saying much more about the human being than it is about any kind of an organization or a governmental stance. If you are on HipHopDX and your information solely is based on simply what Hip Hoppers are saying and the rest is coming out of CNN, that’s really a choice that you make. If you broaden your horizons and your mind and you figure out, “Well, really there’s more to the world than what CNN is telling me, I could read up on something,” that’s another kind of a choice that we make. So I think really the responsibility – although some is with others – I would rather put the responsibility on myself and what I consume so that I have control over it.        

DX: Going back to that Nas interview, he was also quoted as saying, “One thing about us African-Americans and Africans, we don’t communicate. We don’t talk. We don’t see a reason to talk. We don’t even get along. There’s a lot of Africans that don’t like African Americans, at all. They look down on us; they got their own little racial names for us. We’ve been pulled apart, for years.” Anything you wanna add to what Nas said?  

K’Naan: I think he’s right. And it’s an unfortunate circumstance. But you know, me and Nas talk, all the time. I talked to Nas yesterday. So I think the responsibility [to bridge that divide] is partly with us as artists. That’s why you got songs like “Nothing To Lose.” That’s why you got albums like the Distant Relatives album with Nas and Damian Marley. That’s why when me and Wale do something [it’s to] try to expand the scope of what people are thinking about with regards to Africa. That’s why it means something. The generations are changing and right now Africans and the way they think of African-Americans, or African-Americans and the way that they view Africans, is changing dramatically because we’re able to see each other a lot more, we’re able to communicate a lot more. The Internet has changed the distancing tools that have been used for so long [to divide us]. So the excuses are very shallow now.       

DX: It’s ironic, I went to watch your “Take A Minute” video on YouTube and the Vevo link popped up with Nas’ “Nasty” video being advertised right below it. You and Nas are becoming artistic allies for real. You mentioned that you just spoke to him. Have you guys been building a lot since “Tribes At War” [from the Distant Relatives album]?  

K’Naan: Yeah! Nas had come through for a couple of my concerts. And the one in New York I was doing a version of “New York State Of Mind,” and Nas came up on stage and did his thing. But that’s my homie. That’s like a real brother to me. I mean, we call each other about regular life things and advices and so on. And it’s an honor for me, as somebody who came up on Nas, to be working with him and to be friends with him also.    

DX: It’s interesting, when I was listening to the bouncy title-track from your new EP and you spit, “I’m used to bodies chopped / I seen shit to give new meaning to the body shop,” I instantly thought of hoods like Queensbridge and all throughout America where the same atrocities are routinely happening.

K’Naan: Yeah, man, it’s kinda crazy that the balancing act of the universe is always like that. And that song that you’re referring to, that’s the song that the EP, More Beautiful Than Silence, is named after. And so I wanted to – I got a lot of friends, rappers that we all respect, and they know what I do, they know what I can do, and they always [telling] me like, “K’Naan, you need to go at them. You really need to explain this shit to them.” And so, part of my response on the new record is really just to be that, just to show people like, “Look, I can be explicitly direct about this shit.” I took a place for such a long time of humble grace, in which I would rather you figure this shit out before I gotta explain it. But I think it’s time to explain it.      

DX: Is that where lines like “Look, I know you think I’m so righteous / But, muthafucka I’m also into rifles” come from?

K’Naan: Yeah, man. I mean, I got a history that is a lot more – to put it mildly – directly impacted [by violence] than a lot of rappers. A lot of rappers that talk all that street talk can’t really hold a candle to the kind of experiences I’m talking about. And so, why then should I have been all these years kind of in the back, just watching it all unfold? And nobody really gives the kind of credit and due something like that deserves. ‘Cause if you listen to the Troubadour album, where the song you’re quoting, “Somalia,” is from, all of that shit is there but it’s kind of there in the more subliminal sense. But the world is too blatant these days, and they need me to say it. And I’m kinda like, “Alright. Well, now you got it.”          

DX: You talk about your transition from the east to the west on “Coming To America” from the new EP – which I gotta note has an ill flip of South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s song from the movie -

K’Naan: Yeah, that’s right!

DX: In that song you recall moments from your childhood like “playing catch with a hand grenade” and powerfully conclude that you “ain’t the Prince of Zamunda / My life is too gory.” When you visited Mogadishu this past summer, did you still see kids playing catch with a hand grenade? Is life for the kids there still as bad as it was when you left 20 years ago?

K’Naan: It’s a little worse now than it was when I left. The grenade that I’m talking about is a well-documented story. This is actually what happened. I never really put on the records some shit that didn’t happen. I wouldn’t do that. But I never really even did say the things that did happen before. ‘Cause I’m just kind of not the kind of guy that’s interested in all of that. But, I feel like having visited Mogadishu, having seen the way these kids want me to rep, having seen the hunger and the space that’s needed for me to occupy, I really can’t ignore that responsibility. Sometimes I just gotta let ‘em know.

DX: You mentioned the hunger, and you also mentioned that the violent conditions haven’t really changed much. But have the famine conditions improved at all since you visited? ‘Cause some in the media are portraying that situation like it’s over.

K’Naan: It’s not over. There have been some improvements, and obviously natural improvements are taking place as well. But I mean, listen, famine is something that is man-made, and we know that. And we’ve been watching it unfold and we’ve been doing what we can to work against it, but the best thing that we can do now is to make sure that this never happens again. Droughts can happen anywhere, that’s something from God. But famine, that’s something that we’re responsible for as human beings. And so, I think partly as Somali’s, we’ve gotta take responsibility and shoulder much of that responsibility and say “Listen, we’re doing it to ourselves. We’re putting ourselves in that undignified position, and we’ve gotta make sure that never happens to us again.”

DX: I wanna wrap up by just noting that I really appreciate you offering all this clarification about what’s going on in Somalia: with the pirates, the famine. A lot of folks claim they “represent” for their hood, “put on” for their city or whatever, but I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a Hip Hop artist do more to draw attention to the plight of his home than you.

K’Naan: I really appreciate that, man. That means a lot. And I appreciate the support y’all have been giving my work. But, I’m just beginning now. I’m about to unleash on ‘em.

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60 Comments

  • tercme brosu

    Very different. Like Gunters music.

  • tercme brosu

    Very different. Like Gunters music..

  • MPistol

    I'm not really a big fan of this dude - but I definitely respect his ability to do music.... but this statement right here.... KNaan: Well, listen, I think the propaganda machine is us, as human beings. I think we often seek out the kind of information that suits us best. So why we know about certain things that favor our own opinions is just really saying much more about the human being than it is about any kind of an organization or a governmental stance. If you are on HipHopDX and your information solely is based on simply what Hip Hoppers are saying and the rest is coming out of CNN, thats really a choice that you make. If you broaden your horizons and your mind and you figure out, Well, really theres more to the world than what CNN is telling me, I could read up on something, thats another kind of a choice that we make. So I think really the responsibility although some is with others I would rather put the responsibility on myself and what I consume so that I have control over it. that's like the greatest shit I ever heard any hip-hop artist ever say - I mean u want the truth - that there was the truth spoken - no question about it

  • janffm

    y'all chill ... this shit is everywhere in the world. im from west germany and i dont like my fellow germans from the east. i dont like the french. most french dont like the british. i've heard about muslims from different countries not liking each other ... but who cares. Life goes on ...

  • BRINGI

    this is nothing new cz africans dont get along with each other inside africa let alone being in america or europe, black people can't come together and you can see that happening anywhere which is the main reason why we still suffer, africa is becoming white now and maybe in 100 years black people will no longer exist in there

    • Erwin

      Who told you that? that Africa is becoming white? you sound ridiculous, actually Europe is becoming black, London, Amsterdam and Paris will be black cities by year 2100. Africans are growing in numbers everyday

  • that guy

    who cares his music still sounds soft as fuck!

  • Anonymous

    Somalia is a tough place. In the uk we have loads fleeing here for safety. Everyone in Africa knows that place makes some the hardest hoods in america look like holiday retreats.

  • BK Bomber

    Why do so may African Americans (BLACKS) think our hoods are as bad or worse than Africa? let me break a little history down for you!!! 1) Africans are still paying "rent" to Europe and America this means 95% of the minerals Africas has is owned buy them. 2) Wars in many of the countries been going on for years because of the puppets the European powers left in their departure. 3) climate... 1/3 or more of Africa is desert and growing more. And finally religion people are fighting for which GOD we should worship!!!! The land of many of my ancestors has always been a focal point of conquest!!!

    • Mr.Wow

      The same European bankers that control Africa control the US. The US pays these bankers through the Federal Reserve. You know the 7 wealthiest families that established the Fed, Bar association, etc... This shit goes way back and to corrupt politicians in Africa are African so you can't blame the white man on everything. The people must rise up, and create a path for themselves. Religion is a whole different story not to mention that it is all about control. You can't blame the victim for wanting to follow something they want to be. Africa needs to wake up. It ain't the same continent it use to be over 5000 years ago. No different than the US, it ain't what it use to be 100 years ago. We all are victims of a class warfare and no one is exempt.

  • Lima

    I agree, some Africans look down on African Americans, but let's not get it twisted--it's not one sided. As an African myself, it's ridiculous how many times my brother and I heard the phrase "African booty scratcher" back when that was the thing to say. A lot of African Americans don't even like to hear the word "African" in association with them because it connotes poverty and incivility (much like the media would like you to believe). My point is, it goes both ways and it's a damn shame because these divisions do nothing but hurt us.

  • Anonymous

    Fucking auto correct is a bitch. I meant to say knaan is a divisive troll.

  • shutthefuckup

    Both sides need to shut the fuck up. Area can Americans and Africans are devised because people keep doing this whole African American vs African pussing contest bullshit. Like the dude below said, stress is stress. A squad of soldiers coming to your village and killing you isn't much different than a squad goons coming through and lurking you for no reason rather it be robbery or a random drive by. Yes African Americans live in the richest country in the world, but if the system your under and the social/political culture you live in tries its hardest to keep you down and uneducated, its going to be difficult to find the oppurtunity or in some cases, the drive, to succeed. Africans should know this. You have had your own culture, own rules, own leaders for centuries and the majority of Africa still cant get its shit together. Before and after the white man came and gone. Yes we grew up in different ways, but we are still a lot a like. Stubborn and eager to divide ourselves over stupid fucking arguments like this. And while nas may be full of shit, insane is a divisive troll. I don't keep up with the man, but every headline i see with his name usually has something.to do with African Americans vs Somalis. The man is a troll.

    • Really!?

      ur a fucking retard @shutthefuckup. a gang of goon niggers don't come through and set your fucking house on fire, chop your kids hand off, rape n kill your wife/hoe whatever n daughter, and make your son join their gang. people (notice I said people) in Africa have it way worse than some ghetto fools. at least you have a much better opportunity to get out of your situation and get an education. and yes I'm white and racist when it comes to stupid ignorant motherfuckers like you. piece of shit.

    • BK BOMBER

      shutthefuckup, you are really ignorant to the fact of comparing so called goons to soldiers smfh at you!!!! Africans did not control their land for centuries, Africans just started getting control of there lands starting in the 1960's please read dumb motherfucker!!!! and when the Europeans gave them their power back guess what they left there? puppets. Please read with your ignorant ass

  • dennis

    stop trying to rewrite history slave traders raided villages and captured slaves in all of west africa.they didnt specifically target jews.there r blacks in western hemisphere who are descendants of yoruba yet yoruba aint jews.continue denying your ancestry,yet we gave u a president

  • Nnamdi

    The REAL reason for he racial divide between the two, is that the so called african americans, and africans are NOT the same race of ppl. If ya'll read the bible the africans, and JEWS shared the same skin color. And the DUMB school systems here in america, have led the so called african americans to believe they are african; when in reality they are not. Those so called blacks that were sold into slavery from africa were not africans. How did those so called blacks even get into africa? In 70 A.D the romans(white ppl) chased the jews(so called blacks) out of jerusalem(israel) and they fled into africa, and lived there for yrs. Then the slave trade happened, and africans sold their slaves(which were the jews) to the white man in exchange for guns, and other goods. Deuteronomy 28:15-68 documents the whole slave trade. So yes the slaves were in africa, but they were NOT africans. The jews were a lost ppl. So nas was right that there is a divide. There is a divide because he, and k'naan are TWO DIFFERENT RACE OF PPL. And when u read the bible in exodus 11:7"the lord put a difference between the egyptians(which was also synonomous for all african countries, but egypt is used because they are the powerhouse african nation at the time)and israel. So there is A HUGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN the two races of ppl. Africans come from the lineage of ham, while the so called african americans are from the line of shem. So not all black is the same. And pls no one come with that "we are all one race" GARBAGE. If we are all one race, God would not have separated all nations of ppl to live in their own lands.

    • bringi

      i think you had the wrong version of the bible and since when you muhfuckas believe in the bible anyway..GTFO

    • ...

      You should stop using the bible as your only source of historical informations. It makes you look narrow minded and stupid.

    • Anonymous

      There are documented cases of Whites finding two African tribes at war and giving one side guns in exchange for the slaves that were made of the other side. If you think there were no African tribes that made slaves out of other African tribes and sold them to the White man then you don't know your history.

  • Anonymous

    P.S. the worsts of the worst hood in the western world is almost a luxury for 3rd world countaries, when you think that you still have functioning roads,hospitals, clean water, food etc in the western world and nothing that resembles that in the 3rd world..coupled with a government that is generally corrupt, doesnt give a fuck and willing to kill you for disagreeing. can go on, but i think people get the idea..just can never compare the two worlds!

  • Anonymous

    no difference between Africans and African (americans) same origin, just grew up/born in different area of the work (and happy to neglect their past in many cases)

    • Anonymous

      No difference? They were just born and raised in completely different parts of the world in completely different cultures. The key isn't ignoring difference its acknowledging and accepting it. Nowhere in there did K'naan say there is "no difference" between Africans and African Americans.

  • Get back to Africa

    mmm Nas kills me with this Shazaah(different world reference) pseudo African half arse muslim bit...how can Africans hate african americans...african americans should hate them....Fuckem....you have the spanish english and french come to your continent take your people or you sale them to them for doughnuts a bag of magic beans 2 cups of snapple rifles and water pistols.....and Africans have the nerve enough to turn their noses up....when they shoulda declared war on these countries to get they people back...Then come to the US have stank attitides...These morons should be apologizing for not coming to get us...Thye let their brother sail half the planet in chains starving to death to be sold into slavery...So fuckem...If your country was all that youd be there..Then you come over 400 years later wanting to sell me some watches...GTFOH

    • Back To Africa

      Look I dont you to tell me where my peoples from..There are NO archives that will trace my peoples back for more that 6 generations b/c these Africans didnt come get us...And my brother they sold other Africans from rival conquered tribes to the spanish english and french for weapons and fing trinkets...If you gone tell the truth then tell it all...I didnt say everyone in Africa starves..I said on them slave ships our relatives starved to death and were thrown over board when there wasnt any food left...I aint suckin up to the snobby ass bastards who look down on us..imma tell it like it is...Again if you dont like black americans...Take you arse back to wherever you from...This is a hip hop site....Black americans created this art form..and I ant going to sit here and let some african come downgrade our people...The black american is a unique black person...and if you dont like it..FUCK you....Go read your own history...Africans sold africans as well as were bought and taken by the euros...so keep your dasheekis your briefcase full of wathces and ponzi schemes and holla...to all my real africans keep be easy...

    • Anti-Snooty

      I agree....Africans are uppity..Period..Why would you come here and then hate when you get here....If you dont like it fight to change it or go home...Thats liek anyone who dont like it..Kick rocks and take your arse back to Nigeria...

    • dennis

      black americans are simply descendants of west african slaves. slaves fron different countries of west africa like nigeria,sierra leone,ghana,mali,senegal.read about trans-atlantic slave trade.dont be fooled not everyone in africa starves that is just western media showing you the worst parts of africa just the same way media made everyone think blacks are thugs

    • BK BOMBER

      that's the most ignorant shit I ever read!!!!

    • land lord

      Yo "get back to Africa" U R A narrow minded individual & its basically ppl like U that make africans look down on us with BS rhetoric like yours

  • Mr.Wow

    No matter where you are in the world you will find someone across the pond that has had the same experiences you had rather they be good or bad. To think because one comes from Africa that they faced more hardships than someone in the states is bias. People face hardships all over the world, everyone has shit they have to go through to wake up and see the light. He is a great artist but he doesn't know what everyone experience in the hood is like to compare. It doesn't matter where you come from stress is stress and if you want to live you will do what you have to survive. Comparing stress between African and blacks is a waist of time. Kids in the hoods of the US have more PTS than kids in most 3rd world countries so GTFOH with that BS.

    • Mr.Wow

      There are people here in the states that have the same hunger as those in Africa. Just because we have more materialistic illusions to deal with doesn't mean that life isn't as bad. Yes, I'm sure things are bad there but everything you replied from corrupt government to starvation, is all here in the states. If you don't think their is folks living in the US as if they were living in a 3rd world country you need to travel the US more. Not just black ghettos but all. All I'm saying is that their are rich folks in Africa and rich folks in the states, poor folks in Africa poor folks in the states. Regardless of our western culture and the many success like roads, electricity, etc we still have loads of folks in need. Besides who said that Africans wants all these western influences that you speak of? Africa enslaved itself to a certain extent. Slaves have always been in Africa, how did the pyramids get built? I think you need to read a book on history and spirituality than we can talk. It doesn't matter where you are in the world Survival is the game of life and stress has the same affect on the body, soul, and mind regardless of where you are in the world rather it be Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, or the US. What about all the African peoples that were droped in latin America that still live in poverty with very little help from the government or help from Africa and African Americans? These people were the first slaves to cross and still have roots in South America. Did you know Blacks in in the southern part of Mexico? We everywhere is dealing with the same ish so comparing does no favors but asking for favors. If we gonna try to heal folks let that be the mission not putting down my people because we don't have the African experience. We all living just enough for the city.

    • N means

      Don't compared ur fucking America hood to Africa. I wana advice all you Africa Americas to visit Africa cuz ya missing out. There is a loads of un,joy and freedom. Kids from Africa street r real they do anything for living expect selling drugs.while black Africa America kids on the street lazy ass dnt wana work,do sum dumb shit and think they hard. Ya all Africa Americas is gona go down in history in Africa. Low rate brain wash brothers.

    • BK BOMBER

      Mr. Wow please read about Africa and her real history before you write some ignorant shit like this. Yes, our hoods are fucked up but compared to Africa come on my dude you can't be serious. Just imagine not eating for days or living through a real war not this bullshit hood beef that we think is war. Please read !!!!

  • LJbigbang

    Normally I scan through the interviews on here, but I read every word of this one. Never really listened to him before - seems like an awesome artist, gonna keep an ear out for him.

  • Cashville

    Nice interview...is gona be late for this so call Africa Americas soon or later. Nas was right Africans don't like American

    • Nas

      Cashville is right.....soon it will be late

    • tino

      my spelling sucks , my bad.lol

    • tino

      thats too general a statement to make man. way too general.and african immagrants who have moved to the united states can tell you about their experience being in america nad how african americans have reacted to them , we not out here saying we hate every black african american cause of a few ignorant ones, that was blind in thinking by nas and you.

  • triPAUD

    " So I think really the responsibility although some is with others I would rather put the responsibility on myself and what I consume so that I have control over it." Real talk. Niggas, get your head outta the fuckin ground. aljazeera, cnn, bbc, wshh...even fox as annoying as that shit might be. absorb everything, then make your conclusions

  • Soft & Wet

    A good article on this site? Wowzers. Also as a fyi - The Nas interview is three years old.

  • Grizz

    Wonderful interview. K'naans "messenger" series - especially the Fela Kuti release - are some of my favorite projects of the last while. And great questions too!

  • mindbender

    Love to see my brother K'Naan telling the truth to the world. Nas is right: K-Naan is the future of hip hop on planet earth, as far as EDUTAINMENT goes, not this meaningless hustler fantasy bullshit that people spend too much time listening to... one love to the Dusty Foot Philosopher for telling the TRUTH about the struggle of the people in the ghetto, all over the world!

  • Anonymous

    One of the best interviews I've ever read on this site.

  • mikheld

    great interview! K'Naan only puts out meaningful, high quality music.

  • Anonymous

    Never before has a Hip Hop artist found themselves in the position that the Somalia-born emcee has, forced to speak up against the misinformation that American media both liberal and conservative churns out about his homeland almost 20 years after the infamous Black Hawk Down incident every time that a story of Somali pirates attacking ships of western origin is used to frighten consumers of mainstream media into accepting the narrative that every Somali is a gun-toting savage seeking to rob and kill any foreigner who dare step foot in the east African nation. how bout a mo fuckin period son!

  • Anonymous

    you definately are an epitomy of the IGNORANCE hes talking about what you say ? you dont see the street in him ? u crayyy Knaan is from SOMALIA do you have any IDEA the shit that goes down in his country .? educate your brain!!..its the same thing I tell alot of dudes there are places in Africa that if I put the HARDEST of the HARDEST CRIP BLOOD LATIN KING with a sprinkle of Mexican Drug LORDS in ..these dudes will shudder I shit you not they CRY for thier mummmy no exageration..all these so called thugs havent witnessed true hardship or goonery it is like nothing youve ever seen no TV or Magazine can truely tell you..its something you need to witness with your own eyes

  • bob d

    This is a really good interview, best I've read on DX for a while... there's real world truth to this shit. I wanna hear that EP. I bought a lot of K'Naan albums over the years. All better-than-solid.

  • a fan of hip hop since 1982

    i respect this brother for hes accoumplishments and what he has achieved but.... lets just understand one thing when i see a young cat (mc/rapper/lyricist or what ever)with no scars on his face or hands then i have to look at him hard to see if hes got thing that hes talking about. i cant see the streets in this brother ( he can rap) maybe a new common type of rapper nothing more

    • Anonymous

      Hes from somalia, that type of life leaves mental scars. I can only imagine...

    • Anonymous

      i definitely agree with Anonymous African-americans and latin americans calling themselves gangsters and shit are nothin but a bunch of pussies compared to some Third World countries where violence reach its maximum level and human cruelty its highest scale i guess yall are just listening too much gangsta rap music (which is fueled with fake thugs and wannabe gangsters) and take fiction for reality now i don't say ghettos in US are wonderland too, but if you never been in Africa or anywhere else in Asia or South America, just shut your mouth cause obviously you don't know shit

    • born hiphop '79

      no scars on his hands and face...?! that's a man with an AK, buddy... you don't get scars; you either live or die. get real.

    • Anonymous

      you definately are an epitomy of the IGNORANCE hes talking about what you say ? you dont see the street in him ? u crayyy Knaan is from SOMALIA do you have any IDEA the shit that goes down in his country .? educate your brain!!..its the same thing I tell alot of dudes there are places in Africa that if I put the HARDEST of the HARDEST CRIP BLOOD LATIN KING with a sprinkle of Mexican Drugs in these dudes will shudder I shit you not they CRY for thier mummmy no exageration..all these so called thugs havent witnessed true hardship or goonery it is like nothing youve ever seen no TV or Magazine can truely tell you..its something you need to witness with your own eyes

    • Klas

      That's ignorant. The streets isn't something you can see on every individual.