K’naan – Keinan Abdi Warsame is a top Somali – Canadian rapper. He was born in Somalia and moved to the US, where his father lived, before permanently relocating to Canada after the civil war in Somalia. His song “Wavin’ Flag” got international recognition and put him in the limelight in 2002, allowing him to work with the likes of Damian Marley, Jason Mraz, Mos Def and others. K’naan uses his rap to express all of the struggles he encountered in Somalia during the crisis. This article discusses Knaan’s biography, style and influence, career, award and achievement and net worth.

Read about Africa’s most followed celebrities on Instagram here.

Biography and Education  

Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, on 1st February 1978, K’naan was raised in a family where his grandfather was an artist, and his Aunt was a famous singer. He was in Somalia at the time of the 1991 civil war. After losing three of his friends to the crisis, he left Somalia with his mum and two siblings. K’naan had a thing for hip hop even before he left Somalia. He would ask his father to send him some of the albums in Somalia. He learned English through songs he listened to and everyday interaction in his new environment.

The rap star married Deqa, with whom he has two children. They later got divorced in 2010. 

Styles and Influence

K’naan’s lyrics are inspired by his life, and his style is hip hop with a flavour of rock, reggae and soul. He successfully infuses the Somali language into his lyrics. Fans have compared him to Eminem. K’naan easily discusses politics and community strife and Somalia’s economy.

K’naan’s Career 

K’naan started with poetry. While in Geneva, he performed at a spoken word event giving his opinion on United Nations involvement in Somalia. K’naan won the love of the Senegalese artist Youssou N’Dour, and Youssou featured him in his compilation album released in 2001. He then started going on tour as a result of the album; working alongside some prominent artists. The legend has made four albums since he joined the music industry.  

His first album in 2005, “The Dusty Foot Philosopher “blended African instruments in the form of American hip-hop.

In the year 2009, he released Troubadour, which was a blend of Alternative rap, political rap and underground rap. It covered his loss when he lived in Somalia. In 2012, he released the album” Country, God and the Girl. He also released the EP of More Beautiful than silence in 2012. 


Some of K’naana popular singles include:


Soo Baax

The messengers

Waiting is a drug 

Hurt me tomorrow

Is anybody out there

Wavin the flag

Nomination and Awards

He got his first award in 2006 from JUNO in Canada, and it was on his first album, “the dusty foot philosophy”. Another landmark achievement was the song ‘Wavin Flag’ that he did for Coke. His song took the top 10 spots conveniently in different countries across the globe. His song talked about life’s struggles and gave a victory vibe.

K’naan Net Worth and Contribution

His donates towards the welfare of children in Somalia, he has supported the Bono initiative and assisted in creating awareness of drought in Eastern Africa. He presently resides in Somalia and ensures he lends a helping hand to the Somali society in the little way he can. K’naan is worth one million dollars.


K’naan, through his struggle, has become a force to reckon with in the music industry. He engraves his opinion in people’s hearts with his rap and music.


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