Meeting with K’naan, the Somali Celebrity Rapper

HARGEISA, 15 December 2009 (Somalilandpress) – When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t expecting to meet with K’naan, the shining Somali star and well-known rapper. Several days ago, I heard the rumour from a guy in my work place. But I considered that as mere gossip.

May be it was a divinely pre-determined moment, but right after when I arrived at my workplace, I experienced these inner thoughts: why don’t you go and find out if the news of K’naan coming to Hargeisa was a fact.

I immediately went to the office next to mine to identify my colleague who was sitting on his armchair as though he was waiting my question. After greeting him, I just asked him the question ‘Is it true that K’naan is coming to Hargeisa’ ‘Yusuf Shaacir told me that there is a Somali-Canadian singer by the name of K’naan is coming to Hargeisa’. He said. He is making a documentary film about the Somali culture and literature and he will be meeting with Hadraawi and Yusuf himself, he added.

That can be true once the primary source (Yusuf Shaacir) is very reliable but, however, I still couldn’t believe. The reasons are the definition of the artist is still unclear. I was hungry. Usually,  I eat breakfast at a nearby café. So I proceeded to get my meal. While I was in the middle of  eating, I said to my self why don’t you call Yusuf by your self and check the fact. After I finished my dish,  I called Mohamed and asked the phone number of Yusuf Shaacir. Unluckily he didn’t have his phone number But he told me to ask a guy called Ali who is co-worker of mine. I called Ali gave me the number. I dialled Yusuf’s number. Upon ringing twice, Yusuf’s voice answered. It was my first time to ever talk to Yusuf on the phone and I was afraid that he may not respond because of the unknown number calling him. ‘Yusuf this is Adnan, a guy who works for the Academy for Peace Development’ I started my little talk ‘Yeah! Adnan, I know you. How are you doing’ he replied in a warm and welcoming voice. I politely explained the reason of my call. He confirmed the gossip. Right from that moment my subconscious mind registered the info as a truthful data to act on.

A month ago, when i hear the news that a Somali guy was selected to be the artist who is opening at the 2010 world cup in South Africa, I became pretty much interested to find out the artist’s personality and background. Before, I was among the Somalis who didn’t know anything about him.

Most of the local Somalis know little about the artist’s personality and his work. K’naan sings in English and due to the decoding problem of the language, his albums didn’t gain popularity in Somaliland.

In general, I personally believe that a rapper’s hip-hip song doesn’t carry much meaning. I considered their work as written verses expressed aggressively and un comfortable to ears of people like me.

After days of in-depth research on the artist’s work and personality, my perception changed dramatically. Watching the rapper’s videos with lyrics on Youtube, I was stunned by the wisdom his songs were carrying.  I was particularly attracted to the artists’ two albums: Dusty foot philosopher and Troubadour.

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Having confirmed that he was coming to Hargeisa, I called a friend of mine and a bigger fan of K’naan. Informed her about the news. I could hear her wild screaming at the end of the line. She couldn’t believe it. It took me a while to convince her. She hangs up the phone and within 10 minutes later, a car was waiting me on the front gate of office compound, wanting me to take me to the airport.

We arrived at the airport before K’naan got it out and went to his hotel. We were lucky enough to met with him on the exit gateway of Igal international airport. Before we approached him face-to-face, we thought we couldn’t able to meet him because we were afraid that there were a hug crowd waiting him outside.

But the scene was different, as I came to know later; he came to Hargeisa in low-key profile. His arrival wasn’t public info as he was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to accomplish his film project mission.

I can’t express in words the amazing personality of the Somali-born rapper. He approached us in a warm and well-coming manner. He completely lacked the typical celebrity arrogant nature. After a discussion on the purpose of  his arrival at Hargeisa, he asked us to give our phone numbers and he invited us a to join a dinner whom he had with Mohamed I. Warsame Hadraawi, The greatest living Somali poet; Y. Shaacir, a poet and a walking encyclopaedia of the Somali literature and Boobe Yusuf Du’ale, a Somali writer

At night, we arrived came at Ambassador Hotel. In the dining hall, K’naan and Hadraawi were sitting next to each other. The other members of the artist’s team were also sitting in circle around the dining table.  In that session, I have observed some of the amazing personality traits of the artist. He was very respectable to everybody. To Hadraawi, especially, he showed more respect. Whenever Hadraawi tells a funny joke or Somali wit, he will grab his hand and sincerely laugh at his joke, showing respect and interest.

His dressing manners were simple, humble and modest. His eating manners were very Somali. We were eating with forks and knives while he washed his hands and eat with them. He was too research oriented in the Somali cultural and literature. Despite the fact that he wasn’t very fluent in the Somali language, he exerted much effort in the understanding what ever his guests were saying specially on the rich Somali poetry and proverbs. He enjoyed the anecdotes told  by his guests on the different aspects of life of the Somali people. He was Somali minded and seemed very irritated on any clan divisions and identity. He saw things on Somali spectrum. He was creative in both music and songs writing. He has a promising career and will enrich the world heritage of music and songs.

K’naan with Hadraawi, Yusuf Shair, Adnan and Boobe Yusuf.


Written by:
Adnan Abdi
Hargeisa, Somaliland


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