New songs from K’naan won’t be ‘safe’

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Cassandra Szklarski

TORONTO — So­mali-Cana­dian rap­per K’naan says lin­ger­ing dis­ap­point­ment over his last al­bum is push­ing him to write and re­lease a new batch of songs.

The Wavin’ Flag mu­si­cian says he’s found re­newed fo­cus to “be hon­est” in his work, af­ter play­ing it too safe with 2012’s Coun­try, God or the Girl.

His dis­dain for last year’s disc was laid bare in a New York Times opin­ion piece pub­lished in De­cem­ber 2012.

In it, K’naan re­counted label pres­sure to cater his dense global rhymes to a poplov­ing fe­male, teenage U.S. au­di­ence.

K’naan, who draws much of his in­spi­ra­tion from his trou­bled home­land, now says he’s been think­ing a lot about the artist he wants to be and the kind of mu­sic he wants to make.

“It’s a very in­stinc­tual al­bum, (there’s) not a lot of mulling over it,” K’naan says of the new songs. “I just felt like I had to do things this time around that felt pretty ur­gent to me.”

And he is hop­ing to get the ma­te­rial out into the world as soon as he can, largely be­cause of re­gret­ful choices made with Coun­try, God or the Girl.

“My pre­vi­ous work — with the ex­cep­tion of the last record — you wouldn’t call those songs safe, you know,” he con­tin­ues.

“They weren’t struc­tured around any kind of a pop suc­cess or idea around suc­cess. They were just what one thought they had to do or say.”

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