Like Sodium Mixed With Petroleum

Six months ago I had never heard of K’naan. Then a happy co-incidence of soccer and Africa brought him forward as an African rapper to front the world cup games. Will.i.am, David Guetta and David Bisbal en Español later, the whole world has been waving the flag, British alternative rockers Keane included him in  “Stop For a Minute” and the boy from Somalia is currently going “Bang” on the new Karate Kid soundtrack with Adam Levine from Maroon 5. It’s quite a life trajectory for someone born in Mogadishu, who emigrated to Canada as a teenager, and who was discovered at a conference for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 1999, where he performed a spoken word piece criticizing the UN for its failed aid missions to Somalia. He has always been outspoken about his troubled homeland, most recently controversially defending the pirates who hijack and kidnap vessels along the Somali coast claiming they defend the coastline from a “continuous rape by the western vessels”. Whatever his truth may be, perhaps his most important message is about violence. After fleeing the war-torn Somalia with his family, he confronted the violence of the western ghettos. “I don’t want to be disrespectful to anybody else’s kind of struggle; I have lived in places in the US where a lot of people get killed,” he said. “But there are scales of violence and not many places are comparable to Mogadishu. My frustration is how some people are making it into beautiful cinematic violence. A lot of these kids have not seen real violence, and they have no concept of it. Real violence is ugly, people crumble when they get shot, it is not beautiful at all.”

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4 thoughts on “Like Sodium Mixed With Petroleum

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    1. Thanks for letting me know Sophie. I will try to find a version with no regional restrictions. Region blocks are a pain of my life…

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