Rapper and singer K’naan creates a unique blend of hip-hop, reggae, and Somalian music, detailing his experience as a refugee with his socially and politically conscious lyrics.
• As a teenager, K’naan moved with his family to Toronto from Somalia via New York City. It was in Canada that he learned English—partially by listening to Nas and Rakim records.
• He first earned notice when he performed a spoken-word piece at a United Nations event, criticizing the organization for failed peacekeeping missions in Somalia. This led to the start of his touring and recording career.
• K’naan’s 2005 debut album, The Dusty Foot Philosopher, earned the Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year.
• His 2009 sophomore album, Troubadour, includes the hit single “Wavin’ Flag.” In the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, an all-star team of Canadian musicians billed as Young Artists for Haiti released a remix that reached No. 1 on the Canadian charts.
• Throughout his career, he’s been a leading voice for the Somali refugee community in Toronto and the West. His music features lyrics in both English and Somalian.
BORNFebruary 1, 1978