Steve Madden Music: K’naan in NYC


He’s MTV’s Artist of the Month and you’ve probably seen his performance of “Take A Minute” on constant replay on the channel. He’s the 2006 Juno Award winner of Rap Recording of the Year and has toured with Damian & Stephen Marley. On Thursday night, Somali-born rapper/poet K’naan, performed at the first Steve Madden Music event of 2009.

K’naan performed quite a few songs, more than I’ve ever heard at a Steve Madden event. He performed tracks from his latest album Troubadour, including “Fire in Freetown,” “Take A Minute,” “Wavin’ Flag” and “Somalia.” He also performed “Soobax “and “Until the Lion Learns to Speak,” from his 2005 debut, The Dusty Foot Philosopher.

Whether the songs are fast paced, or accompanied by stringed instruments, they all have a storytelling vibe, keeping listeners anxiously anticipating his next verse. While his content has remnants of Bob Marley’s sound, he sometimes has an Eminen-like delivery. His conscious rap covers the politics of Somalia, his journey from Somalia to North America and other personal experiences. On the track “Somalia,” he says
so what you know about the pirates terrorize the ocean
to never know a simple day without a big commotion
it can’t be healthy just to live with such a steep emotion…

In between songs, K’naan put a spin on typical crowd participation and encouraged the audience to bring up topics of discussion. One attendee jumped at the idea and asked for his thoughts on how Somalia could move forward. K’naan cited “reconciliation” & ” a return to culture” as ways for Somalia to begin the healing process.

Despite the amount of heat emanating from such an intimate setting, the level of crowd participation heightened when K’naan performed the fast-paced “Soobax” and drum laden “Until the Lion Learns to Speak.” The crowd clapped rhythmically and was especially hyped for the call and response. K’naan appropriately ended the set with “Wavin’ Flag” and a reprisal of its chorus -“When I get older. I will be stronger. They’ll call me freedom just like a wavin’ flag.”

At the end of the show, guests received a Steve Madden Music Card redeemable for a free download of K’naan’s lead single “ABC’s.” Troubadour is in stores now.

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