K'naan brought "Wavin' Flag" to the Fifa World Cup Kick-Off Celebration Concert June 10 in Johannesburg, with the help of drummers, dancers, will.i.am and several thousand flag wavers in the audience.
The song is the official anthem for Coca-Cola's World Cup campaign. You may have noticed the Troubadour track has been slightly re-jigged to suit the massive athletic event, and sponsors reportedly wanted to make a few adjustments beyond the addition of a Black Eyed Pea and David Guetta to the track.
Lyrics such as "struggling, fighting to eat," which painted a sombre picture of the rapper's home country of Somalia (never mind the original version's content as a song about the rapper leaving the country on the cusp of civil war) apparently made Coca-Cola feel a little too dark and twisty inside. So as Billboard reports, K'Naan suggested that he change the lyrics to be more befitting a "celebration mix."
(So, maybe he's not a sell-out, but we'd still like an explanation regarding will.i.am.)
"I saw it as an opportunity to reach more people," K'Naan told Billboard. "I don't work for Coke or anything; what I do is my music. This was a really great opportunity for them to use my song, without compromising my integrity as a musician. This is what I write, these are the songs I make. I'm happy about it."
For the World Cup campaign, "Wavin' Flag (Celebration Mix)" has been re-recorded 12 times to feature pop stars from different countries, Billboard reports, and will introduce the Toronto-raised star to a global audience. The single is being released in 150 countries, the mag reports.
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