Troubadour - K'NAAN
Troubadour Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 21 Ratings

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  • Summary: The Somalian-born rapper releases his second album, which features Chubb Rock, Damian Marley, Adam Levine (Maroon 5), Kirk Hammett (Metallica), Mos Def, and Chali 2na as guests.
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. Troubadour, the Somali-born artist's follow-up to his great debut, is a smart fusion of influences.
  3. 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.
  4. 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').
  5. 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.
  6. Like M.I.A.'s two CDs, Troubadour is Westernized but never compromises its heritage.
  7. 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.

See all 13 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. AdonisM
    Mar 5, 2009
    Excellent album. This is good music. People need to have an open mind though. I think traditional rap fans will consider his lyrics simplistic because he doesn't make obvious attempts to show off with wordplay. Hipsters will think he's too mainstream-sounding (songs are MTV-ish). But overall, it is what it is, a really good rap-pop album that is produced and arranged very well. You can tell much thought and effort was put into it. I love it. Collapse
  2. 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! Expand
  3. MikeM
    Feb 25, 2009
    K'naan is breaking into the scene with Troubadour - a refreshing new age hip-hop album in a genre that has largely been full of poor music as of late. He tells a story, he's words have depth and meaning. He is returning artistic merit to hip-hop. This is a must listen for everyone. Expand
  4. Chew
    Mar 3, 2009
    A great album, some of the best in the conscious rap years.
  5. ScottS
    Mar 1, 2009
    An awesome work - more mature than Dusty Foot, with less anger, some wonderful pop tunes and a great inclusive feeling of redemption via music. Check out the hook of Waving Flag! Expand
  6. Nedo
    Mar 12, 2009
    Excellent album K'Naan takes a left turn form the traditional hip hip lyrics and sounds of today and stays true to his intelligent sounds and style while tying in hip hop with, rock, reggae, and African sounds the result is something that appeals to the true masses I give it a 9 because i believe his best work is yet to come keep doing your thing K'Naan. Expand
  7. DanieM
    Feb 28, 2009
    Feel good beats with some thought painted on top via the verses of the Canadian-Somalian rapper K'Naan. The super-fun backgrounds sometimes don't match the rhymes and the anti-rap vibe kind of gets tired after a bit, but he still has fantastic stories to tell. Instantly listenable and smart enough for a few replays. Expand