In the past five years, [artist id="2344547"]K’Naan[/artist] has risen in popularity around the world. The Somali-Canadian rapper/singer is fast becoming known for his inspirational, unifying and vivid material. Growing up in Mogadishu amid the still-ongoing Somali civil war was no doubt formative in making K’Naan into the artist he is today. The hip-hop music his father sent him from America was probably similarly influential.
So it should come as no surprise that for his third single from the album Troubadour, he chose to tweak his song “Wavin’ Flag.” In the wake of the earthquake in Haiti earlier this year, the song became a charity single featuring 50 other Canadian artists under the group banner Young Artists for Haiti. Looking to create an urban remake, K’Naan chose producers Will.I.Am and French dance-music hitmaker David Guetta to help fine-tune “Wavin’ Flag” into a ditty with a more mainstream feel.
In the video, which premiered Thursday (April29), Will.I.Am and Guetta appear before a black backdrop, but mostly, we see K’Naan inspiring people. He climbs a mountain, sings arm-in-arm with children and performs a concert, all set to the chorus, “When I get older, I will be stronger/ They’ll call me freedom/ Just like a wavin’ flag.” Indeed, the message seems clear: One can achieve the unattainable through belief and strong resolve, a recurring theme in the artist’s three-album catalog.
Earlier this month, MTV News caught up with Guetta, who was tickled to have gotten the chance to, for once, slow things down. “When I heard it, I thought it was so beautiful,” Guetta said. “I was totally moved. And then I met K’Naan, and he’s a beautiful person. I was really excited. And then I heard Will was working on it. We decided to do a new version of it, and I think it’s great.
“It was my first experience with a slower tempo, so I didn’t know I could handle it,” Guetta explained. “The way I make music is always: ‘Is this going to make people dance?’ That’s the only thing I think about. ‘OK, how to make this emotional?’ So, this one is all about being emotional.”
“Wavin’ Flag” has been selected as the Coca-Cola’s promotional anthem for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The soccer event will be held in South Africa, and versions of the single have been recorded in English, Spanish and Chinese.
Were you inspired by K’Naan’s “Wavin’ Flag”? Let us know in the comments!