The Messengers

So I really am not trying to overload the music side of this blog, but it’s easier to post because it doesn’t require a whole lot of critical thinking.  Alright, check this out, and bear with me:

That’s Hard Rain (Dylan Tribute) – J. Period & K’NAAN. Now remixes and mashups are pretty hit or miss; sometimes they’re great, but often they aren’t, and they take a hit for lack of originality to boot.  J. Period and K’NAAN released a trilogy album called “The Messengers,” and it’s way more than remixes and mashups.  They call it a tribute album, but it’s more than that, too.

According to the artists, some musicians transcend the music.  The produce music that “compels us not only to dance but to think, not only to celebrate but to strive, not only to listen but to truly hear. Fela Kuti, Nigeria’s eminent musical activist; Bob Marley, Jamaica’s emissary of struggle and unity; and Bob Dylan, America’s reluctant Civil Rights song leader, are three such artists.”

I know K’NAAN from his earlier albums “The Dusty Foot Philosopher” and “Troubador.”  He was born and raised in Mogadishu, Somalia, one of the most dangerous, war-torn areas of the world, and unlike most rap his music is all about peace.  As he describes in the many interludes in “The Messengers,” he came to rap through the Somali traditions of poetry and rhythm.  His earlier songs are definitely worth a listen.  K’NAAN – If Rap Gets Jealous.

I don’t really know what to say about “The Messengers.”  It’s probably the most beautiful, reverent album of any kind that I’ve ever encountered.  The music is good, but just like with the three artists featured on the trilogy, it’s about more than the music.  K’NAAN does something that few rappers are doing these days – venerating other musicians.  I personally like the Bob Dylan part, but they’re all worth listening to.  J. Period is a good DJ, but K’NAAN is a truly special artist with some very important things to say.  I’ll put it bluntly: listen to this album. Bob Dylan – It’s Alright, Ma (J.Period Remix).

You can download the whole album by clicking here.


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