Alternative hip-hop artist K'Naan dropped by The Recording Academy's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., on Sept. 13 for an installment of 5 Questions With… and an intimate set featuring "Fatima," "Take A Minute" and "Wavin' Flag" from his major label debut, Troubadour.
K'Naan answered questions spanning a variety of topics including musical influences, mentoring, songwriting, social media, and Academy membership.
"Social networking — in some ways— that's how my fans have found me," said K'Naan. "I [don't] use it to market music or sell records. I use it mostly because I like to be in touch with my fans. I use it so I can have a direct conversation. I like for people to know that I'm human."
Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, at the age of 13 K'Naan, his mother and two siblings left their homeland to join relatives in Harlem, N.Y., and subsequently moved to Rexdale, Ontario, where he honed his hip-hop skills. In 1999 K'Naan performed at the United Nations' 50th anniversary concert in Geneva. He released a debut independent album, The Dusty Foot Philosopher, in 2006, which garnered a Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year. Released in 2009, Troubadour combines elements of not only hip-hop, but reggae and roots music, topped off with socially conscious, lyrical poetry.