K'Naan at the Commodore
No matter what he does with the rest of his life, K’naan will probably always be known as the “Wavin’ Flag” guy. The Somali-Canadian singer-rapper pretty much ensured that the song will forever be the first thing people think of when they hear or see his name. In 2009 and 2010, “Wavin’ Flag” was inescapable, with the man born Keinan Abdi Warsame releasing the original single, which was a hit in Canada. Then Coca-Cola came calling, and K’naan recorded a new version (the “Celebration Mix”) for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This spawned almost two dozen bilingual versions, targeting markets all over the world. Later that year, a group of Canadian artists (including such heavy hitters as Justin Bieber, Drake, Avril Lavigne, and Nelly Furtado) recorded yet another version of “Wavin’ Flag” to raise money for earthquake relief in Haiti. It’s easy to see why the track hit so big: it is anthemic in every sense of the word, lending itself well to mass sing-alongs and, yes, flag-waving. K’naan’s latest single, “Hurt Me Tomorrow”, is a soulful breakup number that aims at just as broad a demographic—namely, anyone who’s ever had their heart ripped out, thrown on the ground, and stomped on. Repeatedly. In other words, whether you’re nursing a bruised ego or pondering ways to help people in the developing world, K’naan has got a song for you. Ultimately, though, he probably knows you’ll be showing up at the Commodore Ballroom on Friday (August 17) primarily to belt out the chorus of “Wavin’ Flag”. And he’s probably okay with that.