What to Do Tonight: K'Naan



Makes Akon look like a total pussy
  • Makes Akon look like a total pussy

Somalian rapper K’Naan’s backstory is way rougher than most stateside MCs’ inflated bios. He barely got out of his war-torn African homeland when he was in his teens. Now in his early 30s and living in Toronto, K’Naan looks back on a lifetime of sacrifices, hardships and violence on his second album, last year’s terrific Troubadour. While there’s plenty of regret and frustration in his songs (which deal with immigration, the Iraq War and other subjects most dollar-obsessed rappers would get tongue-tied trying to explain), K’Naan fills the record with jumpy beats and a lively flow that make the best of his hard times. Mos Def, Damian Marley and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine show up for commercial value, but Troubadour is K’Naan’s story, from the sweetly reflective “Take a Minute” to the autobiographical “People Like Me.” Like M.I.A. fused with Bob Marley, K’Naan hops the globe for his songs and stories. And all of them ring true. He plays House of Blues at 8 p.m. Wale, Tabi Bonney and John Forte are also ion the bill. Tickets: $18 and $20. —Michael Gallucci (follow me on Twitter @mgallucci)

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.