K’Naan Film Will Get Beyond Exotic Backstory, DJ Skee Says

Skee tells Mixtape Daily new documentary, 'Up Close,' will introduce 'Wavin' Flag' rapper to Stateside hip-hop fans.

Celebrity Favorites: DJ Skee

DJ Skee made his mark with mixtapes before moving onto radio, and now the multimedia entrepreneur is breaking into the documentary biz via his Skee.TV production company.

The project, “Up Close,” is a doc series set to kick off with a three-part look at Somalian rapper K’Naan . The international star’s “Wavin’ Flag” became the official anthem for the 2010 World Cup and his live shows have earned him critical acclaim.

But in hip-hop circles, K’Naan still isn’t as recognizable as a Young Jeezy or a Talib Kweli. So Skee sought out the wordsmith to uncover the story behind his rise.

“It was interesting ’cause I was able to see what he did overseas and internationally. He did the World Cup theme song, a #1 record in 22 countries, having Coke invest $200 million into his campaign and single,” Skee explained to Mixtape Daily.

“He was a dope talent. I heard the music, but I wanted to see what he was about. I checked out a show and didn’t really know what to expect. I thought some fans, a mixed group of people, maybe. I went and there was all young cats, and they knew every word to every song. There was even a point where they played the intro to ’Wavin’ Flag’ and he just held his microphone out for 10 minutes and held them captive — he didn’t even say a word.”

The rapper’s calling card is that he’s a Somalian immigrant who traveled to Toronto to learn English and eventually made it in the music business. But according to Skee, “it’s almost like he’s a sob story and [people feel like] he doesn’t belong in this hip-hop world, but he gets props from Jay-Z and Nas.”

For the doc, directed by Matt Alonzo and Michael Busalacchi, Skee followed K’Naan around during three tour stops: Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. The footage will be released in three parts, each telling a different story about the artist; afterward, the complete project will be available to view at Skee.TV.

Ultimately, Skee is hoping fans get a glimpse into K’Naan’s life and discover for themselves what makes the artist beloved around the world.

“People are so finicky, they think he’s only cool ’cause he has that story,” Skee said. “People don’t attach to the music. They say, ’Dope story,’ but don’t give it a chance. I wanted to show a different side. That story had been told, even if he has the most boring story, which he doesn’t. His music is so compelling and what he’s doing is, too, so I want to show that side and that new side and open people’s eyes to get that respect he deserves over here.”

Fans can check out part 1 of “Up Close” at Skee.TV on Thursday.

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