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Distant Relatives
Nas, Damian Marley
Distant Relatives
Genres: World Music, Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1

International Hip Hop superstar Nas and Grammy-winning artist Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley join creative forces to release this highly anticipated and exciting 2010 collaboration. This is an album created by the two serious ar...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Nas, Damian Marley
Title: Distant Relatives
Members Wishing: 6
Total Copies: 0
Label: Republic
Original Release Date: 1/1/2010
Re-Release Date: 5/18/2010
Album Type: Explicit Lyrics
Genres: World Music, Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop
Styles: Reggae, Pop Rap
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
Other Editions: Distant Relative
UPC: 602527354019


Album Description
International Hip Hop superstar Nas and Grammy-winning artist Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley join creative forces to release this highly anticipated and exciting 2010 collaboration. This is an album created by the 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. The project features the signature instrumentation and musicianship of Marley with the hard-hitting beats and lyrics of Nas. Distant Relatives traces the direct line from Dancehall Reggae's breakthrough moment 40 years ago to the rise of Hip Hop several years later.

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CD Reviews

Ode to the Motherland!
Nse Ette | Lagos, Nigeria | 05/18/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Distant relatives" is a collaborative effort by Rapper Nas and Reggae singer Damian Marley (Bob Marley's son). Recorded with a live band, it's a Reggae/Hip hop hybrid which works rather well. Both had previously collaborated on the track "Road to Zion" from Marley's album "Welcome to Jamrock", and from thence came the idea for this. Most of the lyrics revolve about Africa (poverty, AIDS, the diamond trade without sounding corny or heavy handed) and proceeds will go towards building a school in an African country.

"Tribes at war" has African percussion, Arabic strings and a cameo from K'Naan. "Everyone deserves to earn, every child deserves to learn" sings Marley in his world weary delivery while K'Naan asks "I drink poison then vomit diamonds, I gave you Mandela, Black Dalai Lamas, I gave you music, you enthused in my kindness, so how dare you reduce me to Donny Imus?". Damien had previously appeared on the track "I come prepared" from K'Naan's album "Troubadour".

"Strong will continue" has a marching beat and electric guitars (with some semi-biographical rapping from Nas touching on his ex and alimony payments) while the beautiful and lilting "Leaders" features Damian's brother Stephen. It sounds like a Bob Marley classic.

"Count your blessings" is a gently stomping horn-peppered number finding Marley thankful for love and assurance, new health insurance, strength and endurance, and urging us to do the same, while "Land of promise" is a cover of a song by Dennis Brown featuring the Reggae legend himself. It is a slow burning Dub with lyrics seeing a new Africa with Ethiopia the capital.

"In his own words" features lovely jangly guitars, hand claps, a choir, and Stephen Marley again, and "Patience" is a beautiful ballad with a mournful lament for a chorus.

"My generation" has a children's choir singing "My generation will make a change" with Joss Stone complementing the choir and Lil Wayne dropping a few verses telling us "This generation I'm a represent, a generation led by a black president... So when you finish reading Revelations, thank God for my generation". Stone repays a favour as Nas appeared on the track "Governmentalist" on her "Colour me free" album.

Closing is the almost seven minute long "Africa must wake up", a lush string-swathed slow burning Dub with another appearance from K'Naan and a great guitar solo. The lyrics teach us Africa is a land that gave the world the first architect, philosophers, astronomers, prophets, doctors, and from where all the world's religions originated. This is my favourite song.

Production is largely handled by Damian whose talent Nas compared to Quincy Jones. As beautiful and moving as the music is, the lyrics are even deeper and educative. "We're all distant relatives, no matter where you're from, where you live, how near how far, Africa, China, Japan, Afghanistan, Israel, we're all family" to quote Nas from "Africa must wake up"."
iumak | 05/19/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Rapper Nas (Son of Jazz Musician Olu Dara), and Reggae artist, Damian 'Jr. Gong' Marley (Son of the legendary Bob Marley) deliver a truly unique listening experience. Though, as artists who excel in their respective fields, it isn't really a surprise to many that their joint LP is pure gold.

The bulk of the production is handled by Marley, and it consists of an array of innovative rhythms never before heard on a rap or reggae album. Distant Relatives opens up with one of these unconventional tracks, simply titled, 'As We Enter'. This is a really bouncy track that is meant to solidify the duo's readiness. I loved this song because of how intense it was and Nas did a great job with the hook. This chorus is catchy but it also establishes the duo's dominance in the worlds of hiphop and reggae. "The kings is [are] back, time to return the crown"

The album doesn't continue down the road of intensity however. After the first 3 tracks or so things get fairly mellow. This isn't bad though, because the songs are still good. Just don't expect to be pumping your fists all the way throughout the LP.

Things start to heat up again at 'Dispear' which clearly has more of an African influence to it. The whole song feels very tribal and aggressive. It's as if someone where being chased through a jungle of some sorts. The lyrics are also very impressive and I'm reminded of the brilliance of Nas' last Untitled LP when I hear him speak again.

After Dispear, things only continue to get better. 'Land of Promise' is an amazing song, and more Reggae/Bob Marley esque than anything else presented to us thus far. I thought it was great because it showed that although these two are doing something completely different, they can still pull back and add elements of their original selves, when needed.

'My Generation' is the infamous song that includes a Lil Wayne feature. Surprisingly, his verse isn't too "different" so he isn't the burden that fans thought he would initially be. The chorus is a lovely culmination of children's voices singing, speaking on how their generation will change the world. Aww

Things end on a beautiful note with the catchy, "Africa Must Wake Up". I first heard this song on a performance video and I was blow away by how good it was. This is also the kind of song that has a good message, which is always an added bonus. The perfect way to close out an amazing, AMAZING CD

Iumak gives this album a 10/10. If you buy one CD this year, let it be this one. Don't download it for free, purchase this however you can. Music is terrible these days (See my other CD Reviews for details lol) so when we get good music, we have to support and appreciate it. I encourage everyone who hasn't tried Distant Relatives out, to go out and buy this right now."
Brandi Singleton | 05/18/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I am at a loss for words after listening to this album. I can't think of the last time I have heard such a powerful, complete, well-rounded body of work. This album is a MUST BUY. Nas is at his best lyrically...which is saying a lot since when he is just coasting he is still miles ahead of most rappers. Damian is great lyrically & on the production of this album. This is the most cohesive effort I have heard in years & by far the best two-genre collaboration I have ever heard. This album deserves all of the critical acclaim, Grammy's and everything else. It is THAT good."