The 2010 Distant Relatives collaboration “Tribes At War” provided K’Naan additional exposure, after Coca Cola licensed his song “Waving Flag” for the World Cup. The extra royalties surely didn’t hurt, but K’Naan said appearing on the track also allowed him to make a mutual friend. While on the set of his “Nothing To Lose,” video (which airs Friday), K’Naan explained things further.
“We met through Jr. Gong—one of my closest homies—while Nas and Damian were working on Distant Relatives,” K’Naan said. “It was a great record, and I was privileged to be a part of it. That’s how we first linked.”
Nas said he first heard the proposed collaboration over the phone and agreed to be a featured guest based upon his initial impression. After meeting K’Naan in the studio and hearing the track in person, the Queensbridge emcee said K’Naan further explained the direction he was looking for. Aside from the financial and critical benefits of tapping into each other’s respective fanbases, Nas says the continued union between K’Naan and himself provides another positive aspect.
“I come from the United States, and he’s from Somalia” Nas explained. “So when he tells his story, it’s something new to my ears. It’s raw. It’s not coming from news channels; it’s coming from someone who’s actually from there. And coming from where I come from, there’s similarities when you tell those stories. There’s also big differences between our worlds that a lot of kids don’t know about. So you put us on a record together, you bridge those gaps…you see what it is.”
Watch the full interview below: