Here are some artists that I believed that really distinguished themselves and have experienced varying degrees of success in trying to integrate into mainstream music.
Born in Somalia, K’naan came to Canada after leaving on the last (!) plane out of Somalia as a result of the civil war. Oh how far’s he come since eh? Here’s an acoustic version of K’naan’s biggest hit “Waving Flag” off his LP ‘Troubadour’. No, it’s not the Cola Cola version, it’s o.g baby. Skip forward to the 0:27 mark for the song to actually begin as this version was done for CBC’s Q show.
Off upcoming September 2011 Album: “Coming to America: Immigrant Chronicles, M.anifest’s latest single is a hit. M.anifest comes out of Minneapolis, but he was born and raised in Accra, Ghana. The music video, shot in the neighborhood of his youth is colorful and a joy to watch. His chorus and message that“You’ve never known joy, If you’ve never had to (suffer)” is actually celebratory of suffering, and gives nice perspective on being “downtrodden”. Get Suffer on itunes: http://bit.ly/sufferitunes.
Regarding the next artist, Bangs, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cringe at the song. It’s got over 5 million views on youtube, although I think it’s more of the Rebecca Black factor as opposed to the fantastic lyrical work. Bangs, a Sudanese refugee living in Australia via Egypt, is making money and achieving his dream. But this is all becoming some kind of cruel setup. Come on. You all know it. His video went viral because it’s a non-deliberately funny, endearing, slow-paced rap about popcorn and hand-holding in a movie theater. It’s pretty clear that Bangs is still learning English, and I don’t wish for him to get made fun of for it, nor do I want him to develop any delusions either. Hmmmmmm.