K’Naan and Nas: Two Ways to “Manage” a Music Career

K’Naan and Nas: Two Ways to “Manage” a Music Career

From one hip-hop artist, a leaked email exposing the ugly, angry side of the struggle between artist and label. From the other, a frank chat at the end of a long tour about owning one’s art and brand. Two very different leadership lessons.

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Hip Hop Artist K’naan, The Face for Coke at FIFA World Cup 2010

CANNES, France (AFP) — Somali-born hip-hop artist K’naan, who fled the war-torn country for a new life in Canada and turned to rap to learn English, will be one of the stars of this summer’s 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The 31-year-old musician and political campaigner on African issues has signed up to be the face for giant drinks company Coca-Cola at June and July event in South Africa.

Emmanuel Seuge of Coca-Cola said at the annual MIDEM music industry fest that the company had set out to find an African-born musician and chose K’naan because of his background and musical journey.

“The match and shared values have to be very strong and the artist is critical to what you want say through the campaign,” Seuge said.

K’naan’s career took off when in 1999 he performed a spoken piece criticising the United Nations for failed aid missions to Somalia.

It caught the attention of Senegalese star Youssou N’Dour, who invited him to contribute to an album.

“K’naan’s journey and music reflect the strong riches of Africa,” Seuge said.

Jamaica Observer