Released: Feb 2009
Label: A&M / Octone Records
This Somali-Canadian rapper starts off his sophomore release sounding like he thinks he's got something to prove, but by the end we're the ones being schooled. He still stumbles with the occasional wack rhyme and bizarre collaboration (Maroon 5's Adam Levine?), but when K'naan is on, he ranks as a political poet of the first order. And his musical skills extend far beyond hip-hop: He flows over Ethiopian jazz, sings in Somali (while Mos Def raps, no less), even duets with Kirk Hammett's guitar. The panoramic political perspective and bursts of genuine wisdom give these delightful songs teeth.