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Nas & Damian“Jr Gong” Marley - Distant Relatives

04/16/10

Permalink 12:40:31 pm, by amilnal
Categories: Entertainment, Culture

Nas & Damian“Jr Gong” Marley - Distant Relatives

Distant Relatives traces the direct line from dancehall reggae’s breakthrough moment forty years ago to the rise of hip-hop several years later—from Run D.M.C. and Yellowman’s groundbreaking collaboration “Roots Rap Reggae” through Supercat introducing Biggie Smalls to the world on the “Dolly My Baby” remix and Shabba Ranks and KRS-One joining forces on “The Jam.” That line continues right up through Damian Marley and Nas’ double-Grammy-winning “Road To Zion.” Unlike all previous collaborations between Jamaican and American artists, Distant Relatives is neither a remix nor a featured guest spot on a single track. The recording is a fully collaborative effort filling an entire album, opening new avenues of musical expression. Distant Relatives is an album created by two serious artists to explore and celebrate the correlations and deep-rooted connections between reggae and hip-hop, tracing both sounds back to the African motherland that is both the cradle of humanity and the wellspring of mankind’s music. And who better to fulfill this mission? The youngest son of the legendary Bob Marley, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley garnered his own place in music history when he became the first ever reggae artist to win a Grammy Award outside of the Reggae category, taking home an award for Best Urban/Alternative performance for his smash 2005 single “Welcome To Jamrock.” The acclaimed breakthrough album of the same name also won a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. A hip-hop icon since his immortal guest verse on Main Source’s 1991 “Live At The Barbeque,” Nas burst out of the Queensbridge housing projects, a hotbed of rap artistry since the early ’80s. The son of jazz trumpeter Olu Dara, Nas has since gone on to sell over 20 million albums worldwide over the span of his legendary career, and has acted as an ambassador for hip-hop culture throughout the globe. “When we first started working, I was thinking about what direction we should go in,” Nas explained during a recent discussion at the Grammy Museum. “Cause it’s all kinda like the same—reggae, rap. But it went to its own thing… We had a few concepts. All basically around empowerment in a way, cause if we’re talking about Distant Relatives we’re talking about the human family.” The sound of Distant Relatives features live musicians as well as studio production by Damian Marley and his elder brother Stephen Marley, a distinguished award-winning artist and producer in his own right. Featured artists on the album connect other diasporic dots— New Orleans’ own Lil Wayne as well as the critically acclaimed Somali-born, Canadian-raised MC K’NAAN. “I didn’t want it to sound like something that would be typical of me, neither typical of Nas,” said Damian Marley, who produced much of the album. “But something where you can still see how there’s a middle ground in the music… where you can still hear something that is reminiscent of either of us… It’s been really fun. Cause we’ve been going in the booth together. Especially as a lyricist, it’s really like iron sharpen iron. You can’t slack off right now. It’s a great learning experience for me too.” And that experience extends to young listeners who will surely be enlightened and educated about the shared cultural legacy of Africa, America, and the Caribbean. “The whole process is gonna be fun,” Nas adds. “I think we can have fun helping people. When I think about things we wanna do with this album, it’s just limitless.” In addition Nas and Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley have announced the official tour dates for their groundbreaking "Distant Relatives Tour," set to kick off May 21 in Arcata, CA. The tour will follow the May 18 release of their highly-anticipated collaborative studio album, Distant Relatives (Universal Republic), and will include performances at Bonnaroo, June 11 and Gathering of The Vibes, August 1. The pair recently performed at the annual music festival SXSW in Austin, TX, as well as WMC's Ultra Music Festival in Miami this past weekend. They will also make one more special performance on May 2 at West Palm Beach, FL's SUNFEST before kicking off the tour. Opening for Nas and Damian during their landmark tour is Nigerian-born singer-songwriter Nneka, who recently introduced her sound to the America earlier this year through her US debut release, Concrete Jungle. In addition to announcing tour dates, Nas and Damian have released the official album cover, which was shot by Nabil Elderkin and designed by Nesta Garrick.

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Reasons why I love my Jamaican Mom

1. My Mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait till we get home."

2. My Mother taught me about RECEIVING.
"You going get a ass'n when we get home!"

3. My Mother taught me to MEET A CHALLENGE.
"What di backside yu thinkin'? Answer me when me talk to you...Don't talk back to me!"

4. My Mother taught me CONSEQUENCES.
"If yu run cross de road an' cyar lick yu dung, a goin' kill yu wid lick."

5. My Mother taught me THE VALUE OF EDUCATION.
"If yu no go a school, yu a go tun tief or walk an' pick up bottle."

6. My Mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If yu tun over yu eye lid an fly pitch pan it, it a go stay so fi evva."

7. My Mother taught me to THINK AHEAD.
"Is not one time monkey goin' wan' wife"

8. My Mother taught me ESP.
"Yu tink a don't know what yu up to nuh?"

9. My Mother taught me HUMOR.
"If yu don' eat food, breeze goin' blow yu 'way."

10. My Mother taught me how to BECOME AN ADULT.
"Come an' tek yu beatin' like man."

11. My Mother taught me about SEX.
"Yu tink say yu drop from sky?"

12. My Mother taught me about GENETICS.
"Yu jus' like yu faada."

13. My Mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Yu tink mi come from "Back A Wall?"

14. My Mother taught me about WISDOM OF AGE.
"When yu get to be as ol' as me, yu wi understan'."

15. And my all time favorite... JUSTICE.
"One day wen yu have pickney, a hope dem treat yu same way."

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