The Dusty Foot Philosopher
K’Naan, the Dusty Foot Philosopher, spits rhymes with that same pinched, sleeplessly agitated register as late ’90s-era Eminem (think back to “My Name Is…”). This vocal register works for K’Naan’s tales of life on the war-torn Mogadishu streets and finding his way in his adopted homeland of Toronto. Working with producers Track and Field — who have in the past twiddled knobs behind Nelly Furtado — pop and hip-hop are clumsily brought together by K’Naan, as on “Strugglin” and “In the Beginning.” K’Naan has considerable progress to make before he hits k-os’s stride. But on tunes like the calm, cool and collected “What’s Hardcore?” or the Ali Farka Touré-esque African blues-jam of “Hoobaale,” K’Naan is clearly setting off on a good pace.