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up album is being released in 2009.

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 up album is being released in 2009. Empty up album is being released in 2009.

Post  lunamoonfang Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:31 am

1. "Wash It Down" – 2:15
2. "Soobax" – 3:42
3. "What's Hardcore?" – 3:36
4. "My Old Home" – 3:06
5. "Moment (Interlude)" – 0:10
6. "I Was Stabbed by Satan" – 3:50
7. "A Ghetto so Ruff (Interlude)" – 0:22
8. "Smile" – 4:03
9. "If Rap Gets Jealous" – 4:18
10. "The Dusty Foot Philosopher" – 3:56
11. "Strugglin'" – 4:25
12. "In the Beginning" – 3:21
13. "Hoobaale" – 5:05
14. "The African Way" – 4:20
15. "Voices in My Head" – 4:00
16. "Boxing My Shadow" – 4:29
17. "For Mohamoud (Soviet)" – 0:32
18. "Until the Lion Learns to Speak/Blues for the Horn" – 8:55

Near the end of this album, K'naan explains that a dusty foot philosopher is one who comes from poverty but lives with dignity and philosophises about the universe, and it is hard to think of a better moniker for K'naan, one of the most interesting new talents I've come accross. Autobiography has always been a key part of rap, and certainly K'naan's story is essential in understanding his debut album. Born in Somalia, he lived in a crumbling society and extreme poverty before escaping the civil war with his family to Canada when he was 13.

Musically this translates into a production style that mixes tribal drums and reggae esque grooves with a modern underground aesthetic. Samples are fairly scarce and most of the instrumentation sounds like it could be live, with quite a lot of mellow acoustic guitar.
Probably the most inspired piece of music comes from the opening track "Wash it Down" which forms a hypnotic beat purely from the sounds of sloshing water.

And the opening track also introduces the agenda of The Dusty Foot Philosopher, chronicling the horrible conditions of his homeland and contrasting it with the consumerism of the first world using the subject of water, "This is a little meditation for you to relax. And jump in the pool and you know, sink in the sink. My people drum on water, drink on water, live on water, die for water."

This message runs throughout The Dusty Foot Philospher to the extent that it could easily be considered a concept album, but his lyrical variation and execution keep it from ever becoming repetitive. "What's Hardcore?" pours contempt on gangsta rap's glorification of violence, "if I rhyme about home and got descriptive, I'd make Fifty Cent look like Limp Biskit."

K'naan's voice is slightly nasal, but still very pleasant to listen to. He varies his flow from quite frenetic to almost spoken word pace, but the greatest asset of his rapping is the emotion he wrings out of his words, easily the most evocative MC I have heard, the chorus of "Smile" being a great example. This suits his style of lyricism, which doesn't focus on wordplay or quirky references, but eloquent and engaging imagery, "Spread it indeed like shit and vomit that's under your feet. I was born in a pot boiling black and hot, waiting to be tasted and rapping a lot. But justice would not come and eat my flesh."

Overall this a brilliant debut record, with a strong sense of social justice and intelligent lyrics that never gets in the way of fun music. I recomend it to anyone interested in hip hop and I can see a stellar career for K'naan in the future. I think his follow up album is being released in 2009.

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