Nas and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley just announced the release of their highly-anticipated collaborative studio album, Distant Relatives (Universal Republic), scheduled for Tuesday, May 18, 2010. Featuring the signature instrumentation and musicianship of Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley with the hard-hitting beats and lyrics of Nas, the album title refers not only to the bond between the artists, but the connection to their African ancestry, which inspired the album both musically and lyrically.
Throughout the course of their musical careers, the duo has always admired each other’s style. Since first meeting in 1996 the two artists have shared a mutual respect and camaraderie that was most recently showcased on the track “Road to Zion,” from Damian’s critically acclaimed album, Welcome to Jamrock. After having such a positive experience working together, they have now joined forces again for Distant Relatives. In their latest collaboration, Nas and Damian trace hip-hop’s roots to Africa, where the genre originated as a vital form of cultural expression and was then transported by the slave trade to the Caribbean and the American colonies. It blossomed a half century ago in the dance halls of Kingston, Jamaica, and soon migrated to the park jams and recreational centers of New York City, where the culture became known as hip-hop. This evolution forms the basis of the Distant Relatives project which, in addition to the album, also includes a documentary film, performances and a series of public discussions, the first of which took place in conjunction with National Geographic Live in Washington, DC last December.
“Damian and Nas have made a groundbreaking album that combines the depth and vision of these two artists with a seminal musical and cultural thread of multiple generations,” stated Monte Lipman, President and CEO of Universal Republic Records. “We’re thrilled to play a role on what’s certain to be another pivotal album for both artists and one of the more unique collaborative efforts in recent years.” The partnership between the two artists is sure to amaze with an album encompassing 14 tracks including the first singles “As We Enter” and “Strong Will Continue,” which the duo premiered on the SOS Haiti Telethon benefit last month. The album was produced by Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley and also features several guest appearances including Lil Wayne, who appears on the track “Generation,” K’NAAN on “Africa Must Wake Up” and Tribal War,” and Stephen Marley on “Leaders” and “In His Own Words.”
Nas and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley plan to hit the road following the release of their album, including stops at Bonnaroo and the Heineken Opener Festival in Poland. Prelude to the tour begins at SXSW on March 17th and is followed by two performances in South Florida at ULTRA on March 27th and SUNFEST on May 2nd. Official tour dates will be announced with complete list of cities and venues on Monday, March 22nd.
A hip-hop icon since the early 1990s, Nas emerged from the Queensbridge neighborhood of Long Island City, a hotbed of rap artists since the ’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. Nas first reached an international audience when his track “Halftime” was tapped by producer MC Serch as the opening cut on 1992’s Zebrahead movie soundtrack. The first full-length album by poet and rhyme-master Nas arrived in 1994, the RIAA platinum Illmatic. Since then he has released 8 solo albums and 3 compilation albums that have garnered 11 GRAMMY nominations and certified either double-platinum, platinum and gold.
The youngest son of reggae legend 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 outside of the Reggae category, taking home an award for Best Urban/Alternative performance for his title single, “Welcome To Jamrock.” The acclaimed 2005 breakthrough disc Welcome To Jamrock, also won a GRAMMY for Best Reggae Album. Most recently, Marley has been touring non-stop shaking up stages all over the world.
For the original report go to http://musicremedy.com/n/nas/album/distant-relatives-8266.html