So this is a do-over. The original version of K’naan’s track featured on The Dusty Foot Philosopher over a decade ago. A year after that album the Trilby wearing bearded Somali/Canadian rapper was back for another go at his own song, only this time with Metallica’s Kirk Hammett on guitar.
Now if you hear the words ‘Metallica’s Kirk Hammett on guitar’ you’d be forgiven for thinking of a particular type of noise in your minds ear (it will become a phrase, I’ll see to it).
And I’m guessing that particular type of noise is not sunny reggae. A.N.D. . . Y. E.T The cool sunny mellow guitar line Kirk supplies on this track is as an accomplished and comfortable groove as you could hope to hear from a player of any genre. Then again. We are talking about the man Rolling Stone named #11 in a poll of the All Time 100 Greatest Guitarists.
To K’nann’s credit he writes all new verses. He even addresses the fact he’s laid this song down before.
“I got grudges, let’s discuss this, my music needs no touch ups, I got a long record of fuck ups, trust me you don’t know who has this weight as mine, or a life as hard as mine I had to hustle, chop, sell drugs, grind, whatever you want to call it is fine”
Now I know it can be a rap cliche to talk about how tough your life on the streets is/was/has made you, but when it’s coming from a Somali/Canadian I’m inclined to believe it. In the era of it’s release it would have been too easy to have turned K’naan featuring Kirk Hammett into a Numetal crunch and scratch-a-thon. These guys took a different route and the reward was this ode to positive defiance.
“So, yeah, basically I gotta release occasionally I gotta let you know what’s goin’ on with me and facing me are some tough choices I got a good side and a bad side inside my head, I hear screams and loud voices and I can’t lie, ain’t got shit I ain’t got to brag, I’m hard pressed for some cash ’cause that’s where I’m at with that”