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K’NAAN (The Kennedy Center)

K’NAAN

At age 9, K'NAAN was doing what most American kids were doing. He was hanging out on his neighborhood street corner, MCing for his friends, dropping rap verses, dreaming of a day when he would possess the lyrical skills and the rhythmic flow of his hip hop heroes. K'NAAN, however, was very different from those American kids. He was an African and he was on the other side of the world on the dusty streets of Mogadishu, Somalia. And although he was rappin' verses from Nas and Rakim and all the other great American MCs with an almost eerie attention to detail and pronunciation, he could not speak English.

Watch Past Performances

K'NAAN 2/27/09: K'NAAN

Hailing from war-torn Mogadishu, Somalia, hip hop artist K’NAAN grew up during the Somali civil war. Despite speaking no English, he taught himself hip hop and rap diction. Critics have said K’NAAN has “a sound that fuses Bob Marley, conscious American hip hop, and brilliant protest poetry.”

K'NAAN

Hailing from war-torn Mogadishu, Somalia, hip hop artist K’NAAN grew up during the Somali civil war. Despite speaking no English, he taught himself hip hop and rap diction. Critics have said K’NAAN has “a sound that fuses Bob Marley, conscious American hip hop, and brilliant protest poetry.”

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