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True Blood: K'naan and the New Testament

Houston Press
Jef With One F
Monday, July 23, 2012

Alan Ball was known for his masterful use of music in Six Feet Under. He's lost none of his touch when it comes to his current HBO series, True Blood -- which happens to be set in the Louisiana swamps, not terribly far from Houston.

This column is fairly formulaic. I recap the episode, mention the song, and wed it together with duct tape, booze and sleep deprivation. This week, though, I have to say that True Blood's music selection has reached what is probably its absolute height. Ladies and gentlemen, meet K'naan.

K'naan lived his early life in Mogadishu during the Somali Civil War. His father had made it to America, and would send his family care packages that included hip-hop albums by Nas and Rakim. Eventually he made it to America, where he lived in Toronto and taught himself to rap phonetically.

Now he's big time, and for my money he's the best rapper in the world. He is definitely the best argument for rap as poetry I have ever heard, and he spends his time either making badass records or working with Bono to further social causes in his native land.

"In the Beginning" comes off of 2005's the Dusty Foot Philosopher, which had a lot of great tunes including my favorite "I Was Stabbed by Satan." You've probably heard "In the Beginning" from Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, but here the song speaks so eloquently to a startling new plot twists in True Blood that it's hard to believe the entire show wasn't built around the amazing moment when painful realization cuts to credits and K'naan lays it down.

As I said last week, it surprised absolutely no one when Salome (Valentina Cervi) unleashed Russell Edington (Denis O'Hare) and let him kill the Guardian (Chris Meloni). Now the secret cult among the vampires that believes that God created the first vampire Lilith to rule humanity and seeks to treat mankind as cattle that they also bone and reproduce with is in control.

This leads to a ritual involving drinking what is believed to be the sacred blood of Lilith, collected from her goo pile after the humans tricked her into the sun. Though Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) are initially hesitant to be included since, you know, the greatest vampire terrorist in the world in now dancing around free and with the backing of the Authority. Nonetheless, they go along, and the result is that the entire party reels drunkenly through the streets of New Orleans until they decide to slaughter a wedding.

With dozens dead, Lilith herself appears in the form of a naked Persian woman with oddly trimmed pubic hair. She silently inspires the vampires to continue to gorge themselves on the few remaining alive guests, but suddenly Eric has a vision of his late maker Godric.


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