It’s better to light a candle than to curse the dark
In the eyes of the youth, there are question marks
Mindless violence, well let me try to paint it.
Here’s the 5 steps in hopes to explain it:
1, It’s me and my Nation against the World
2, Then me and my Clan against the Nation
3, Then me and my Fam against the Clan
4, Then me and my Brother, we no hesitation
Go against the Fam until they cave in
5, Now who’s left in this deadly equation?
That’s right, it’s me against my Brother
Then we point a Kalashnikov
And kill one another.
When I get older, I will be stronger
They’ll call me freedom, just like a Wavin’ Flag
Until the lion learns to speak, the tales of hunting will be weak.
I’m not about trying to get and get and get. I feel good when I get, but I kind of feel better when I give.
And any man who knows a thing, knows he knows not a damn, damn thing at all.
The people of Somalia just do not have a voice. They are to me the most forgotten people in the world.
My life owes me. Like an overdose, I’m slowly
Drifting into the arms of trouble, then trouble holds me
To reach your goal authentically is probably, in the end, going to mean much more to you than having reached it in a false way.
You have to let the world speak to you and then you speak, you know, so I’m in that moment now where I’m finding the world’s voice.
I faced quite a few challenging times, and in front of those, I was more positive than some people not facing those conditions. I’m actually of the belief now that it is that struggle that offers you that open-hearted hope.
It’s not longer ‘Look what I can do, I can do it better then you.’ It’s just I am.
Somalis really are very musically sophisticated, and they’re about their own thing.
When I get older, I will be stronger
I learned to fire guns at the age of nine or so, but luckily was not out killing people. We zigzagged the streets to escape those trying to kill us. I guess it would have been a matter of time till I turned around with a gun myself, to go after those coming for us. But I was fortunate. The grenade incident was about an explosion which destroyed a section of my school, from a grenade that me and my cousin detonated by accident. We both lived to tell about it.
The pirates are serving a purpose right now. They come from regions which have been completely ignored, and Westerners have tried to destroy these regions by their constant plundering of resources and by the illegal dumping of nuclear waste. The pirates really began in order to discourage these actions – initially. And then the business became lucrative.
I’m writing from a place of – a center of authenticity, somewhere that only I know how to write from.
I enjoy mediation. I think the artist’s position is often to mend the things we feel are broken. Whether that’s between two cultures or two thoughts. We’re always trying to reach, trying to expand something.
Hip-hop in Africa has been very often a duplication of an American experience, but in a context that’s totally alien to it.
It was interesting to find how dominating American vision is all over the world. I think there’s something to be said about the world’s mindset and its economics and all of that, and I think it affects the way we see ourselves and it affects music.
It is the very survival of the streets that makes children pick up guns in Somalia, not some older, wide-eyed rebel leader. My intimate experiences during these years are something which I have shared with people through my music but am very careful about how they are addressed.
I wasn’t making music consciously when I was younger. I was a musician, but that has its own stigmas. Anywhere on the planet, it’s one of the more undervalued positions.
I think it’s a mistake to work on success in career. I’ve worked on my passions obsessively. How can I say what I want to say more precisely than the last time I said it? Success is such an elusive concept. When you work for it, I think you get it in a way you might regret it.
In the time of war, everyone was basically trying to live and manage the best they could. But you also had another period which was not a hard time at all – it was just a beautiful time. I lived in both eras. I got to fully experience and appreciate both the tragedy of Somalia and the beauty of it.
I do think that some of my songs, like Take a Minute, are like the train between the two worlds. It starts out with the question of “how did Gandhi ever withstand the hunger strikes and all / he didn’t do it to gain power or money as I recall,” and its sweep reaches all the way to this part of the world. I think maybe I’m a translator, because I lived in both worlds and truly understand them. I understand the discontent that comes from not having. But I also understand the anxiety that comes from wealth and convenience.