SXSW 2009: K'Naan K'Naan questions the credibility of American hip-hop: After all, even the toughest American neighborhoods aren't as dangerous as his hometown of Mogadishu.

SXSW Music Festival

SXSW 2009: K'Naan

K'Naan In Concert At SXSW 3/19/09

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/101430586/102134494" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Before escaping war-torn Somalia at age 13, K'Naan found inspiration in an Eric B & Rakim CD mailed to him by his father. By the time he'd reached Canada — and before he could even speak English — K'Naan had etched the raps of Paid in Full in his mind. Driven by Ethiopian samples and a mission to raise awareness about Somalia, K'Naan will perform as part of NPR Music's day party at SXSW. Hear the rapper recorded live in concert from The Parish in Austin, Tex.

In a recent interview with NPR's Elizabeth Blair, K'Naan says that American rap lacks credibility, because even the toughest American neighborhoods aren't as dangerous as his hometown of Mogadishu. His background informs a style that hits hard with a message that hits even harder. K'Naan's latest album, Troubadour, features the talents of Mos Def, Chali 2na, Metallica's Kirk Hammett and the long-lost Chubb Rock, who weighs in on "ABCs."

[+] read more[-] less

More From Hip-Hop

Benny The Butcher plays a Tiny Desk (Home) concert. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Benny The Butcher (Home) Concert

Benny The Butcher, one third of Griselda, performs a short set in his living room, with help from BSF labelmates Rick Hyde and Heem.

Sa-Roc plays a Tiny Desk (Home) concert. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Sa-Roc (Home) Concert

The Washington D.C. rapper and Rhymesayers signee debuts two songs from her upcoming album, The Sharecropper's Daughter.

D Smoke plays a Tiny Desk Home concert. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

D Smoke (Home) Concert

Watch D Smoke perform a riveting Tiny Desk (home) concert.

Buddy and Kent Jamz play a Tiny Desk (Home) concert. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Buddy And Kent Jamz (Home) Concert

The two rappers perform tracks from their joint mixtape Janktape Vol. 1 for our Tiny Desk quarantine series.

Tarriona "Tank" Ball plays a Tiny Desk (Home) Concert. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Tarriona 'Tank' Ball (Home) Concert

"Don't go out to the cookout." The leader of Tank and the Bangas spreads pure joy from her living room in New Orleans.

Chika plays a Tiny Desk concert (Max Posner/NPR). Max Posner/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Max Posner/NPR

Chika

The 23-year old rapper from Alabama went for a stripped-down set anchored by a Peruvian cajón.

Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR). Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR

Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science

The veteran jazz drummer is joined by special guests that include producer and percussionist Kassa Overall and actor Malcolm Jamal Warner, for a potent and deeply moving set.

Chris Dave & The Drumhedz perform during a Tiny Desk concert, on Dec. 9, 2019. (Catie Dull/NPR) Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Catie Dull/NPR

Chris Dave And The Drumhedz

Chris Dave, your favorite musician's favorite drummer, takes listeners on a journey through a virtual record store, picking up different genres along the way and putting them in your bag.

Back To Top