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Troubadour
K'Naan
Troubadour
Genres: Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop
 
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1

2009 release. Recorded primarily in Kingston, Jamaica where K'Naan was granted unprecedented access by his friends Stephen and Damian Marley to their father Bob Marley's original home studio at 56 Hope Road and the legenda...  more »

     
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CD Details

All Artists: K'Naan
Title: Troubadour
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: A&M/Octone
Original Release Date: 1/1/2008
Re-Release Date: 2/24/2009
Genres: Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop
Styles: Experimental Rap, Pop Rap
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
Other Editions: Troubadour
UPCs: 602517943957, 602527054520

Synopsis

Album Description
2009 release. Recorded primarily in Kingston, Jamaica where K'Naan was granted unprecedented access by his friends Stephen and Damian Marley to their father Bob Marley's original home studio at 56 Hope Road and the legendary Tuff Gong studios Troubadour is a Hip Hop album like no other. K'Naan successfully blends samples and live instrumentation for a sound that's both rooted in traditional African melodies and the classic Hip Hop tradition. Features Kirk Hammett of Metallica on the song 'If Rap Gets Jealous'.

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CD Reviews

An old white lady's take on K'naan's work
Diane Kistner | Georgia | 05/21/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I try to be hip, but it's a little hard for an "old white lady" to be truly hip. I got Troubadour, I confess, because this hippie chick always liked reggae and I wanted to see how the musical elements were blended. My experience with Hip Hop is largely what I've heard blaring too loudly out of cars I'm stuck beside in traffic--that and the Sarah Palin SNL "mother-lovin' moose" skit--but those eyes rolling at me when I hurriedly roll up my window plus the knowledge that Hip Hop is sweeping the world in popularity made me want to educate myself so I'd be a little less square. (Well, that's the word we used to use for it. I have no idea what the same thing is in the current hip vernacular!)

I have to say that I liked this CD more than I thought I would. First off, I was pleasantly surprised at how well K'naan enunciates his words. One of things I've disliked so much about rap lyrics is that I often cannot make out much more than the four-letter words; then what comes across is a bunch of anger and ugliness without much in the way of content to enlighten me and draw me in. This compilation is different. I can understand what's being said, and what's being said is often meaningful--and more broadly so--than most of the rap I've been exposed to has seemed to me. K'naan is just as adept as some infamous rappers at using those four-letter words, but they are used to good effect--not solely for their shock value or as a coded badge of entry for members of a narrowly circumscribed, exclusive little club.

The way K'naan and his collaborators juxtapose rap rhythms with more traditional musical elements is appealing. When there is a spoken rap line, the elements backing it up are more melodic; when the vocals are sung (as on my favorite tracks), the beat is more rap-like. As for the non-rap elements, these I found most engaging. The African flavors are especially appealing, making me want to hear more. (That Paul Simon was so strongly criticized for trying to introduce African music to white Americans was an unfortunate musical setback at a time when a whole generation of Pop/Rock lovers was ready to open up to something new.)

I personally enjoy the subtleties of Troubadour more than the up-front "energetic" aspects of it, although I suspect most Hip Hop fans might feel quite the opposite. I quickly tire of rap--I know a lot of my unhip friends do as well--but when used judiciously as an accent embedded in a larger mosaic of fresh sound, I find it enlivening.

As it stands, Troubadour is not a CD I'd listen to in its entirety on a regular basis, but there are several tracks--the ones that made me get up and shake my booty in spite of myself--that I will definitely incorporate into my playlists. If K'naan can continue to evolve beyond "just rap" without betraying his roots, my sense is that he will be able to attract an audience far larger than the Hip Hop crowd.

"
Made my ears very happy!
Krystal Bracht | Tennessee | 02/27/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The first song I heard (Bang Bang fet. Adam Levine) blew me away. It made me want to hear more...I listened to the record on Amazon's listening party and it was easily the freshest music I've heard so far this year (along with Lily Allen's It's Not Me It's You) especially in hip-hop.
There's really not a bad or filler track on here, but my favorite songs are Bang Bang/If Rap Gets Jealous/Wavin' Flag/Take a Minute/ People Like Me. I think he sounds like Wyclef meets Eminem...in the best possible way. Very positive approach towards a life that throws too many curveballs.
I would recommend this to anyone who likes popular music!"
Hip-Hop Variety With A Compelling Message
Philip R. Heath | DFW | 04/24/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Troubadour is the sophomore offering from Somali rapper K'Naan. I have to admit that this is a bit outside of my normal listening genres. However, I liked what I heard on the samples, and I am also a big Kirk Hammett fan (see my review of Death Magnetic). So I decided to branch out and give this a shot. As such I offer an "outsider's" perspective on this CD.

I must say that I'm glad that I took a shot on Troubadour. While I don't have a lot of experience to draw from, I get the distinct impression that there is something different about this CD. K'Naan's songs speak about real problems beyond the U.S. borders. While many of the subjects are about the grim and grizzly reality of growing up in war torn Somalia, K'Naan always comes back the fact that he is a survivor. Even though his life began in dire straits, he has overcome these extreme obstacles to be successful. I believe that his background keeps him from wandering down thepaths of excess and gratuitous sex and violence that is so prevalent in rap and hip-hop. Songs such as " ABCs" give light to the life children in Somalia face "They don't teach us the ABCs. All we have is life on the streets." As compelling as this subject is, many people will need something more that they can relate to. K'Naan takes care of this. The closer, "People Like Me", unites K'Naan's trials to those of a soldier in Iraq and a struggling single mother. The chorus says it all "Heaven, is there a chance that you could come down and open doors to hurting people like me." K'Naan also has a couple of songs about the ladies, but he avoids the cliches and degradation that is so common. While "Bang Bang" is more lighthearted and playful, "Fatima" is a more solemn song about a love lost.

K'Naan's appeal is that there is nothing contrived about his songs. While Troubadour earns its "Parental Advisory" label, I didn't find it offensive. There is also a fair variety in sound on Troubadour. Some songs are straight up hip-hop such as "T.I.A." and "ABCs". However, "Wavin' Flag" gives a nod to Bob Marley without trying to be a cheap imitation, and "If Rap Gets Jealous" is somewhat of a crossover song with Kirk Hammett lending solid guitar work. I thought he did a good job of playing in a style that fit the song rather than forcing his signature Metallica sound. Troubadour is a CD worth checking out.

Download this: ABCs"