4/13: K’Naan at House of Blues

Somalian rapper K’Naan’s backstory is way rougher than most stateside MCs’ inflated bios. He barely got out of his war-torn African homeland when he was in his teens. Now in his early 30s and living in Toronto, K’Naan looks back on a lifetime of sacrifices, hardships and violence on his second album, last year’s terrific Troubadour. While there’s plenty of regret and frustration in his songs (which deal with immigration, the Iraq War and other subjects most dollar-obsessed rappers would get tongue-tied trying to explain), K’Naan fills the record with jumpy beats and a lively flow that make the best of his hard times. Mos Def, Damian Marley and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine show up for commercial value, but Troubadour is K’Naan’s story, from the sweetly reflective “Take a Minute” to the autobiographical “People Like Me.” Like M.I.A. fused with Bob Marley, K’Naan hops the globe for his songs and stories. And all of them ring true. He plays House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., 216.523.2583) at 8 p.m. Wale, Tabi Bonney and John Forte are also ion the bill. Tickets: $18 advance, $20 day of show. — Michael Gallucci

Like this story?
SCENE Supporters make it possible to tell the Cleveland stories you won’t find elsewhere.
Become a supporter today.
Scroll to read more Things to Do articles

Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.