It’s been a few years since we heard a new album from K’naan. Since releasing Country, God, Or The Girl in 2012, we’ve only heard a few songs from K’naan, the most recent being “Immigrants (We Get The Job Done,)” part of The Hamilton Mixtape. Last June the song also got a music video. Meanwhile, K’naan has slyly been working on new music, sharing vague updates on Twitter and Instagram every now and then. Following an exciting clip of a song we’ll call “Ha Ha” last November, we now have a series of 7 videos documenting the making of K’naan’s upcoming album.
The album is being recorded in Los Angeles. The videos come courtesy of Kyan, a musician writing with and producing on K’naan’s album. Kerry Brothers Jr. (aka Krucial – best known for his work with Alicia Keys) is also working on the album.
“Making The Album” Videos 1-4: December 2017
The first video came out on December 7th. It shows Kyan recording keyboard parts, plus K’naan in the vocal booth recording group vocals of “a lot!”
The second video highlights a new song we’ll call “Those Were The Days.” In it, K’naan sings:
And even if he was black
Cause that was his community
And then it him like,
“Ain’t nothin’ really new to me”
Video three shows the group working on a more upbeat song, with a repeated “hello ha la” vocal line and a stomping beat:
The fourth video came a week later, this time showcasing a somber song entitled “Hide And Seek.” In it, K’naan speaks the verse:
We played hide and seek with hunger
We hid in the broken closets out our parents’ hopes
Kyan then sings:
Come out, come out wherever you are
And when they found us, when they found us, when they found us
At the end we hear more of K’naan’s spoken part:
The second time we played hide and seek
Was with bullets
Finding some of our friends
But I was good at hiding
Or maybe it was God saving me from dying
“Making The Album” Videos 5-7: January 2018
After the holiday season, Kyan upload the fifth making of video on January 5, 2018. Our first video of the year gave us a hint of another song, this one presumably called “Bad At Love.” It already sounds like a highlight!
Everything’s a lesson and I was a quick learner
I went from a refugee to 100 G earner
I had the skinniest body in all the neighborhood
And that’s saying a lot for a Somali neighborhood
He later sings:
Still shook about my own heart
Cause I’m bad at love
The sixth video, out a week later, featured atmospheric music. We then get to hear an extended preview of K’naan’s verse;
I ain’t gonna play badminton
My soul in the middle while they battlin’
I never really wanted extravagance
Now I gotta walk around being strapped again
N*****s really confused, you’ve attracted them
Just remember n****r really east African
Is there another way to live? What’s the protocol?
This fake shit ain’t what I voted for
These fake tits ain’t what I loaded for
But it’s my fault – I should’ve told them off
From the get-go, set go animal
Like candidate turned into cannibal
I used to want to be understandable
Now the whole world feel incompatible
The final video, released on January 19th, features something new: a children’s choir. According to the caption Kyan wrote on the video, the children’s choir sang on two songs: “Come To America” and “Hide and Seek.”
On the first song, the children’s choir sings:
I want to come to America
Before America comes to me
On “Hide And Seek,” the choir is joined by K’naan and Kyan. Together, they sing:
We hid in the broken closets
Of our parents’ house
We hid in their arms
Latest K’naan News
It’s been a few years since we heard new music from K’naan. His last album, Country, God, Or The Girl, came out over five years ago. It launched singles like “Is Anybody Out There?” (featuring Nelly Furtado) and “Hurt Me Tomorrow.”
Since then, K’naan spent much of his recent time developing a TV series called Mogadishu, Minnesota. Himself an immigrant from Mogadishu, Somalia, K’naan wrote, directed, and executive produced this show with the intention of highlighting the immigrant experience of Somalis in America. The HBO series was ordered to pilot in summer 2016, with filming occurring last winter. However, the show was met with scrutiny, with some Somali Americans concerned about how they’d be portrayed in the show.
Unfortunately, in September, it was announced that HBO will not be moving forward with Mogadishu, Minnesota. In a statement, HBO said: “We value the relationship we’ve built working with the talented K’Naan Warsame and hope to have a chance to work with him in the future.” At this point, it’s unclear if Mogadishu, Minnesota would be able to move to another network, but for now, it seems we won’t get to see it.
Back to Music
In addition to exploring the television world, K’naan has also been working on new music. Last March he was in the studio with Jim Jonsin. In April, K’naan was teasing new songs that aren’t out yet, confirming that he’s writing “a little somethin somethin” that way may get to hear soon. The new songs may include his sequel to “Until The Lion Learns To Speak,” a track from his first album.
By now, we’re getting really excited to hear the new K’naan album. With several song clips from the making of videos – plus the preview of “Ha Ha” from November – we have a lot to look forward to. This could be K’naan’s best album yet!
Enjoy the new videos, and get ready for more K’naan music and news of an album soon. At this point, we’re thinking we’ll get to hear it later this year! Keep checking back here for all the latest K’naan music news.