K’naan (nee Keinan Abdi Warsame in 1978) is a very talented Somalian-born, Canadian-raised poet, songwriter, singer, rapper and activist.
I once heard someone on the radio refer to K’naan as Bob Dylan-esque. Of course that’s a big compliment. But the compliment was for a reason. The commentator observed that K’naan, like Dylan, is about something. He’s about creating something musically unique. Indeed. However,K’naan’s rap-song style music with socially conscious lyrics written to highlight the plight of third world peoples, makes him a modern day Bob Marley. It’s painfully ironic that he’s even collaborated with Marley’s son–Damian Marley, who like all of Marley’s kids, has struggled to capture, musically what made Bob a genius.
K’naan’s second album Troubadour was mostly produced in Bob Marley’s own studio in Jamaica, which is fitting since he is now the new third-world prophet as Marley himself was once dubbed. From his second, Juno-winning album which features songs like ABCs and Take a Minute, comes Waving Flag, a song about survival and triumph in the face of adversity that has not only been adopted by Canadian artists to raise funds for Haiti, but also by the World Cup organization as the anthem for the upcoming World Cup of Soccer, the first to be held in Africa.
Here’s the anthem below: