K'naan
Troubadour


3.0
good

Review

by Andru Okenuf USER (31 Reviews)
October 28th, 2010 | 8 replies | 4,683 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It’s not going to change your life, but after just a listen or two, you’ll find you can’t help but sing along

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

You know the song “Wavin’ Flag,” an inspiring track that was chosen as the official song of the 2010 World Cup because it’s both moving and incredibly catchy. But after a couple listens to his second studio album in its entirety, it barely even stands out.

You don’t listen to K’naan very long without learning a lot about him. He grew up in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, at a time when it was both extremely dangerous and poor, before spending a few years in the United States and ultimately settling in Canada; his own experiences make up the vast majority of what he raps about. This rare combination of such unique experiences and the ability to write about them so artfully sets K’naan apart from his contemporaries. Perhaps his mantra is best described in the very personal track “Somalia” where he states:

A lot of main stream niggas is yappin’ about yappin’
A lot of underground niggas is rappin’ about rappin’
I just wanna tell you what’s really crackalackan
Before the tears came down this is what happened

Troubadour is an album that virtually anyone can enjoy and is replete with songs that are all quite good (excepting perhaps ‘America’). Yet it is difficult to consider the album any better than good, however, because though initially appealing, his music doesn’t resonate very much in the months or even the weeks after it catches on – as much as you would like it to. Still, when you find yourself rocking out to “TIA” and easing up for “Take a Minute” you can’t deny that the album is a lot of fun.

“Yeah believe it or not / what kept me alive is my dreams” K’naan says in the intro to the song “Dreamer”, appealing to the John Lennon in all of us. I am a diehard Beatles fan, but Lennonite or not, the beat in this song is contagious. Plus, how many single guys out there don’t have “a dream girl in my mind that’s the hook / An intellectual, sexual and still can cook”?

“I come prepared” is similarly minded and unsurprisingly one of his most popular tracks. “If Rap Gets Jealous”, another album single that also appears on his debut album, features an appearance Metallica lead guitar / songwriter Kirk Hammett. Yet if you look below, I consider neither these 2 songs nor Wavin’ Flag to be one of my 4 favorite tracks for the album, showing you just how DEEP this album runs. Virtually everyone who gives this album a chance winds up connecting with a different set of songs.

A great many of his songs contain similarly poignant and relevant social criticisms as well as display his insightful point of view. If I flushed them out any further here, this music review might turn into a critique on our current society – you’d do better to give the album that Nas and Damian Marley cite as a major influence a listen. As a philosopher, K’naan more than deserves the high praise given to him – I wish his music didn’t begin to stale after a couple dozen listens.

Recommended Tracks:
Somalia
Dreamer
Fatima
People Like Me



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user ratings (66)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
aok
October 28th 2010



4165 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Another favorite verse from the album:

Do you see why it's amazing
When someone comes out of such a dire situation
And learns the English language
Just to share his observation
Probably get a grammy without a grammar education
So fuck you school and fuck you immigration

Let me know what you think of the review -- it's tough giving this album just a 3 -- it's so likable and heartfelt. Just my fourth review so I'd appreciate some critique =)

Irving
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2010



7008 Comments


But if I began to flush them out here, this music review would quickly turn into a critique on our current society.


This was honestly just what the review needed. You got the basics down, but your opinions are woefully unexpanded. Put your ideas together, and link them to some form of conclusion - give it closure or a succinct summary. Here's an example of where one was needed:

Perhaps his mantra is best described in the very personal track “Somalia” where he states:

A lot of main stream niggas is yappin’ about yappin’
A lot of underground niggas is rappin’ about rappin’
I just wanna tell you what’s really crackalackan
Before the tears came down this is what happened


Your next paragraph is immediately about why Troubadour is enjoyable, leaving me wondering why was all that preamble about K'naan's mantra all about. This is why I suggested that maybe a social critique might actually have been a good idea - it gives your review context, concept, and - most importantly - weight.


I won't neg for now - this is only your fourth review after all. Keep working at it though! That's my humble opinion anyway. Cheers!

Digging: Caleb McAlpine - All Things New

Tupik
October 28th 2010



667 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Yet it is difficult to consider the album any better than good, however, because though
initially appealing, his music doesn’t resonate very much in the months or even the weeks after it
catches on – as much as you would like it to


This sums it up perfectly. I really loved the album for a couple of weeks, maybe a little more, but
I never want to listen to it now, it is a great album but has a very short appeal to me.

I won't pos because of what the poster above said, you need to expand your opinions a bit more and
make the review flow more IMO, but this was still pretty good.

And I really agree 100% with everything you said, so that's cool

random
October 28th 2010



2243 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love his verses on I Come Prepared.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
July 1st 2012



4829 Comments


nice review. k'naan really rubs me the wrong way. his flow and tone are kind of odd and i never dig his beats

Digging: Nmesh - Dream Sequins

aok
July 1st 2012



4165 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i definitely like what he does, but i'm not quite sure i enjoy how he's doing it

Storm In A Teacup
July 1st 2012



12688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

underrated
but some how he competes with them all
understand his rapping level is unreadable

TREO5
October 23rd 2013



1065 Comments


Fatima, Fatima, I'm in America
I make rhymes and I make 'em delicate
You would have liked the parks in Connecticut
You would have said I'm working to hard again

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE-YaL0Y3bo



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