Favorite Non-U.S artist:


I tend to gravitate towards artists who use music as a medium for political protest. When thinking of a non-U.S hip hop artist, I was somewhat grasping at straws as I am not well versed even on U.S based hip hop artists (before taking this class, of course!). But I then I remembered watching the World Cup two years ago and having the tournament's theme song, Waving Flag by K'naan, stuck in my head weeks after the matches ended. Described as "a sound that fuses Bob Marley, conscious American hip-hop, and brilliant protest poetry", K'naan uses hip-hop as a medium to "show the state of the world [and] if you call it like it is you're being political." He draws on his native Somali roots as well as Ethiopian culture to create his unique style.
Interestingly, K'naan states that he tries to avoid gangster rap clich├ęs, as "all Somalis know that gangsterism isn't something to brag about." Since many U.S hip hop artists draw on the concept of being a thug or a gangsta to render oneself authentic, K'naan's position on authenticity is different.
Moving from Somalia to Canada at the age of 13, K'naan taught himself hip-hop without even knowing the English language yet. A spoken word piece on failed UN attempts to send aid to Somalia, jumpstarted his career as Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour invited K'naan on tour. Since then, K'naan has collaborated with many popular U.S artists such as Mos Def, Dead Prez, and will.i.am.


Like you, I enjoy artists who convey a political message/protest. Somali and Ethiopian culture has always intrigues me because I used to tutor East African refugees at Wellstone International High School. They always had amazing stories to tell and I think that their voices need to be heard. Hip hop is a way to do so.

Like you, I enjoy hip hop that conveys a political message, especially when that message is fightting against serious things such as war or genocide. I used to tutor East African refugees at Wellstone International High School, and they always had fascinating stories to share. I find that hip hop is a great outlet in which to do so.

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This page contains a single entry by egel0047 published on November 4, 2012 8:33 PM.

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