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After his debut album--The Dusty Foot Philosopher--took Canada by storm and collected a 2006 Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year, the pressure was on for K’Naan’s major label follow-up.Troubadour, in a word, delivers. Lyrically, the Somali ex-pat out-rhymes the majority of his native English-speaking counterparts with a mix of violent personal history and charismatic uplift, the occasional melodic chorus, and a voice that’s fairly compared to Eminem’s but more accurately recalls the upper-register nasality of Pharcyde’s Booty Brown. Pop-leaning cuts like “Dreamers” and “15 Minutes Away” duck in and out of instrumentals that borrow from Afrobeat (“Fire in Freetown”), a world/soul sound that hits its apex in the gorgeous “Wavin’ Flag,” and hip-hop’s best use yet of a Bob Marley sample (opener “T.I.A.”). Recorded at Marley’s legendary Tuff Gong studio in Jamaica, the album gets a heavy dose of collaborative energy from such diverse contributors as Mos Def, Chubb Rock, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine (“Bang Bang”), and Metallica’s Kirk Hammett (“If Rap Gets Jealous”). In a year that has already seen an early girth of really strong rap releases that eschew the superficial violence, misogyny, and inanity of most radio fare,Troubadourstands as a front-runner for Hip-Hop Album of the Year.  --Jason Kirk
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Label:  A&M, Octone
ArtistK'Naan
Genre:  Rap & Hip-Hop
Release Date:  February 24, 2009
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review by . August 19, 2009
Some people listen to hip hop mostly for the poetry, and these people may be disappointed with this album. It's a pleasant, danceable collection, though. There's a distinct world music influence, and it's a step up in production quality from the artist's previous work. Catchy tunes, a good children's choir, and K'nann's smooth voice make it an enjoyable listen.
review by . May 26, 2009
posted in Music Matters
I am not normally a fan of rap music, but K'naan's personal history drew my interest in. When I sat down to listen to this CD, I was not disappointed. While some of the songs may be a little too gratuitous in their dropping of the N word, the CD was overall very enjoyable. Some of my favorite songs on the CD featured unexpected guest vocals. Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and Kirk Hammett of Metallica are not people you would imagine as guests vocalists on what is hailed as a rap album, but K'naan has …
review by . April 24, 2009
At first listening, I found this record pleasing but, to paraphrase the words of the immortal Groucho Marx, "underwhelming." But the more I listened to it, the more I appreciated it -I enjoy it a lot now. K'naan's is an interesting -and disturbing- story. Born in Somalia in 1978, he escaped the war torn country with his family on the last commercial flight out of the country as the government collapsed. (K'naan means "traveler" in Somali.) He came to the attention of the Senegalese singer Youssou …
review by . April 24, 2009
At first listening, I found this record pleasing but, to paraphrase the words of the immortal Groucho Marx, "underwhelming." But the more I listened to it, the more I appreciated it -I enjoy it a lot now. K'naan's is an interesting -and disturbing- story. Born in Somalia in 1978, he escaped the war torn country with his family on the last commercial flight out of the country as the government collapsed. (K'naan means "traveler" in Somali.) He came to the attention of the Senegalese singer Youssou …
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