K'Naan

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SXSW Records

K'Naan

Troubadour (A&M/Octone)

Aside from Kirk Hammett's embarrassing contribution to the pop turd "If Rap Gets Jealous" and Adam Levine's cheese-balled "Bang Bang" play on the Pharcyde's "Passin' Me By," K'Naan's Troubadour, his second LP, pulls all that's right from Will.i.am's bag. The Toronto-by-way-of-Somalia rapper holds his own as a lyricist despite admitted shortcomings ("Probably get a Grammy without a grammar education, so fuck you school, and fuck you immigration"), "Fire in Freetown" more Wyclef Jean than Emmanuel Jal. He's also in the Fugees' league as a singer ("Take a Minute"). Across both mediums, K'Naan jots memoirs present and past, hip-hopping together a worldly sound ("Somalia") that takes from Somalian youth's apparent Big Four: Fela Kuti, Tupac, Marley, Lucky Dube. Like M.I.A.'s two CDs, Troubadour is Westernized but never compromises its heritage. "T.I.A." – This Is Africa. (Thu., Austin Music Hall, 8:20pm.)

***

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