Troubadour - K'NAAN

Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. After what K'naan has been through, bless him for trying--the ebullience he extracts from a life much tougher than North Americans can know is worthy of soukous, mbaqanga, the highlife of Ghana's most punishing inflationary spiral.
  2. K'Naan's singular take on the parallels between Africa and America is the strongest thread running through this diverse, socially alert and frequently brilliant sophomore disc.
  3. Troubadour, the Somali-born artist's follow-up to his great debut, is a smart fusion of influences.
  4. Troubadour is thoroughly enjoyable and immediately accessible. It is not as emotionally powerful as its predecessor, but it does continue to show a talented artist that isn’t afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve.
  5. His richly detailed rhymes are part of a more pop-centric stew, and the special guests (Mos Def, Damian Marley, Maroon 5's Adam Levine) make the recipe seem a little overcooked.
  6. Musically, it has only a few elements, but are arranged well, a simplicity the lesser often veer into undeveloped blandness.
  7. 70
    Whether he’s lamenting immigration hassles or imagining himself a depressed American kid fighting in Iraq, this Muslim fan of Biggie and Bruce Lee has a common touch. He’s a universal soldier, not an exotic novelty.
  8. Those elements ring so true for K’naan that it feels like a distraction when he turns to high-profile guests like the Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett (on 'If Rap Gets Jealous') and the Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine (on 'Bang Bang').
  9. Like M.I.A.'s two CDs, Troubadour is Westernized but never compromises its heritage.
  10. Unfortunately, this big-tent spirit also occasionally dilutes some of the elements that made K'naan's debut so striking.
  11. 64
    K'Naan is one of the realest cats going, and although Troubadour feels somewhat derivative, you should at least agree when he notes, "It's OK to feel good." [Holiday 2008, p.100]
  12. The results are usually catchy and interesting.
  13. Some songs work. He makes great use of Ethiopian-sounding jazz samples and M.I.A.-style children’s chants on ABCs, and excels while rapping over some of the album’s otherworldly beats.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 21 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Nov 15, 2010
    So yeah, after 2 months of spending time with this album, listening each and every song to death, I still love the album. That says all i have to say about this album. Unlike those 99% rappers who rap about **** this guy raps about life--about miserable life being lived by millions all over the earth. Each and every song brings with it a new story--and its all really well done. Not one song has disappointed me. I extremely recommend this album. Massively underrated! Full Review »