K’naan Brings Hip-Hop to The 2010 World Cup

Somalia-born singer/MC K’naan is playing a major role in bringing the world’s eyes and ears to Hip-Hop.

With his ode to patriotism “Wavin’ Flag” chosen as the theme song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, K’naan performed the song in the games’ opening ceremony last Friday (June 12) in Johannesburg. This year’s World Cup Games is expected to be the most watched event in television history, with each game is expected to draw in more then 125 million viewers.

“I wanted [‘Wavin Flag’] to be a reflection of what the World Cup really means to people around the globe. When I finished performing, you could still hear the whole stadium singing my song,” K’naan tells VIBE during a brief intermission from the World Cup tour.

As a child, K’naan remembers soccer as a huge part of his adolescence. Growing up in a country where futbol is the number one sport and form of recreation, the opportunity to be a part of its most prestigious tournament is more than K’naan could have ever imagined.

“It was the first World Cup game that ever took place in South Africa and my ticket said 1A.,” Knaan says.  “I’ll never ever forget that—it was my one and only baller moment [laughs].”

With the spirit of Bob Marley living through the song’s uplifting melody, “Wavin’ Flag” has been embraced as a call for unity among the World Cup’s international audience. K’naan recalls receiving support from artists all across the board, including the Canadian phenom Drake.

“[Drake] was telling that me he appreciates me bringing Hip-Hop into the homes of people who otherwise wouldn’t have listened. He just recognized what I was doing,” K’naan says of the encouraging words that Drake passed along to him during a joint televised interview.

As the whirlwind of performances and media obligations grows more demanding with every game that’s played, just keeping up with the World Cup’s grueling schedule has been a challenge all in its own for the leading musical performer. K’naan offered a few tips for those in who plan on attending the 2010 World Cup, “You need ear plugs, plenty of water and be prepared to stay up for days because after the games over—people go out all night and then do it all over again. It doesn’t stop!”

The final match talkes place on July 11, and it’s projected that over 715 million viewers will tune in, surpassing the record set in the 2006 World Cup Championship. —Mikey Fresh