DELAND, Florida — Keinan Abdi Warsame better known by his stage name K’Naan is an A&M/Octone recording artist. Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, K’Naan is best known for his single “Wavin Flag” which played throughout the 2010 FIFA World Cup as Coca-Cola’s promotional anthem.
K’Naan spent his childhood in Mogadishu until the start of the Somali Civil War at the age of 13. Not too long after the civil war was underway, K’Naan and his family moved to New York for a brief amount of time before taking permanent residence in Rexdale, Ontario.
The politically conscious rapper was first noticed by prominent Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour during his spoken word performance at an United Nations event. Like other music artists in the industry, such as Bono, K’Naan has used his music as a platform to speak out on the injustices occurring in Somalia and other countries around the world.
With his work at various UN events, K’Naan’s notoriety grew and eventually led to world tours and the production of his debut album, ‘The Dusty Foot Philosopher.’ He used his music as a way to express the world he grew up in. Messages heavily describing a war torn country shattered by violence and corruption can be heard on his debut album.
His single “Soobax” off of ‘The Dusty Foot Philosopher’ album is one song in which he expresses his frustrations with the increased violence that had been occurring in Somalia. He also calls out the warlords and corrupt politicians and challenges them to stop the violence. Soobax, a mix of English and his native Somali tongue , encourages listeners and citizens of Somalia to take a stand against the wrongdoing of those fighting for power in the country.
As a social activist, K’Naan created records that brought awareness to the current state of Somalia. In addition to making songs about his life experiences, he used his world tours as an educational platform to bring attention to the several different causes. K’Naan has not only collaborated with notable artist musically, but also collaborated on their campaigns. An example of this being the RED campaign with Co-founder and U2 lead Bono.
Little has been heard of K’Naan’s latest projects since his performance at the DISC (Dell Social Innovative Challenge) Awards, an event that honored the world’s top student social entrepreneurs, which took place in Austin, Texas on May 14, 2013.
Sources: K’Naan, K’Naan, New York Times, AllMusic