Wednesday, August 19, 2009

k'naan and j.period: the messengers

continuing to "create medication out of [his] own tribulations," k'naan's latest effort pays tribute to three legendary fellow troubadours that have undoubtedly influenced his own music: fela kuti, bob marley, and bob dylan. a three-track digital EP has been released as a sample of the much-anticipated j.period-produced, the messengers, that effortlessly fuses k'naan's brilliant lyricism with re-imagined classic sounds of the three musical pioneers.

'let's start (tribute to fela kuti)'
begins with the rakim's 'i came in the door/i said it before...' from 'erik b is president'--a particularly significant line as k'naan has recounted numerous times how it was through paid in full and other hip hop albums that he learned the english language. this track's combination of afrobeat and classic hip hop is an awesome nod to his genesis as "africa's rap bruce lee." on the bob marley tribute, 'them belly full', toronto is fully represented in a collaboration with kardinal offishal, as well as with fellow afropolitans, sierra leone's bajah and the dry eye crew and brooklyn's steele on a refreshingly revolutionary track that showcases how powerful hip hop can be when the music has a message. and, finally, 'relationship lay' hits hard with k'naan ruminating on the complexity of relationships over bob dylan's hauntingly beautiful refrain from 'lay, lady, lay,' 'i long to see you in the morning light...'.

i think both k'naan and j.period have outdone themselves with this one, and i cannot wait to hear the rest. the EP was released on august 18th and j.period and k'naan will pay tribute to each individual 'messenger' with a new release every tuesday in september. the tribute to fela kuti will be released on september 1st; the tribute to bob marley on september 8th, and the tribute to bob dylan on september 15th. the messengers entire compliation will be released on September 22nd.

download the EP, here.