K’Naan is an incredibly talented singer/songwriter (although he also tends to think of himself as a philosopher/poet) born in Mogadishu, Somalia in the late 1970s. He lived through the beginnings of the Somalia conflict before moving to New York, eventually settling in Canada. The music he produces these days is mostly rap, and a LOT of the content deals with his home country, his family fleeing, his life in exile, and his dreams for the future of Africa. His songs tend to be equal parts playful and urgent.

His sophomore album “Troubadour” was part of my “BA thesis survival mix on infinite repeat,” and without it, I’m pretty sure the damn thing never would have been finished.