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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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Sister Mary Margaret

SISTER MARGARET MARY, WHO WORKS FOR A LOCAL HOME HEALTH AGENCY WAS OUT MAKING HER ROUNDS WHEN SHE RAN OUT OF GAS.

AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT A GAS STATION WAS JUST A BLOCK AWAY.

SHE WALKED TO THE STATION TO BORROW A CAN OF GAS TO START & THEN DRIVE TO THE STATION FOR A FILL UP.

THE ATTENDANT REGRETFULLY TOLD HER THE ONLY GAS CAN HE OWNED HAD BEEN LOANED OUT BUT IF SHE WOULD WAIT, IT WAS SURE TO BE BACK SHORTLY.

SINCE THE NUN ! WAS ON THE WAY TO SEE A PATIENT SHE DECIDED NOT TO WAIT & SHE WALKED BACK TO THE CAR. AFTER LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TO FILL WITH GAS, SHE SPOTTED A BEDPAN SHE WAS TAKING TO THE PATIENT.

ALWAYS RESOURCEFUL, SHE CARRIED IT TO THE STATION & FILLED IT WITH GASOLINE, & CARRIED IT TO HER CAR.

AS SHE WAS POURING THE GAS INTO THE TANK, TWO MEN WERE WATCHING FROM ACROSS THE STREET. ONE OF THEM TURNED TO THE OTHER & SAID, "IF IT STARTS, I'M TURNING CATHOLIC".

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Photo Highlights

Bob Marley Statue
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