First, for months I had been hearing about the Toronto via Mogadishu rapper K'Naan, but it wasn't until I listened to the Polaris Music Prize gala, where his performance made me step back. Whoa, this dude is the real thing. Amazing performance, and and even better album.
Buy: Troubadour (2009)
Mos Def has a long career as a musician, producer, and actor. In fact, he helped produce some of Troubadour. A friend recommended this record to me, and its incredible.
Buy: The Ecstatic (2009)
K'Naan and Mos Def are the first hip-hop artists to ever appear on Austin City Limits. This appearance is pretty remarkable as ACL is usually reserved for Americana, country, or roots artists. ACL's next few guests include The Avett Brothers, Heartless Bastards, Kris Kristofferson, and Steve Earle. But what could be more "American" (or "Canadian" for K'Naan) than Hip-Hop? Especially when their songs tell stories in the tradition of the great country and folk artists.
K'Naan and Mos Def appear on ACL tomorrow, Saturday, January 16. Check your local PBS listings. In the Toronto area, we get WNED out of Buffalo, and like so many things in Buffalo, we are a week behind. K'Naan and Mos Def will air on ACL on Friday, January 22 at 11:30 pm.