ALBUM SPOTLIGHT: DISTANT RELATIVES BY DAMIAN MARLEY AND NAS


by petercortle | May 20, 2010

Since his 2005 smash “Welcome to Jamrock,” Damian Marley has been one of mainstream reggae’s most enigmatic and successful figures for conscious music that still manages to break any speaker it plays through. Nas, once the creator of the greatest hip-hop album of all time (Illmatic, for those not in the know), has become something of a joke for his grandiloquent declarations of hip-hops death, and controversial album names.

Does it make sense that the two disparate artists would join forces? Not entirely. Does it work? Absolutely.

Earlier this year, Marley and Nas put out “Distant Relatives,” a mostly ragga-influenced showcase of Marley’s fast-paced toasting and soulful singing paired with Nas’s emphatic, sometimes repetitive flow. Marley delivers 110% with beautiful lyrics and an exciting presence. Nas is a little flat in some places, but at least matches up with the passion of the overall album. Check out the track “Promised Land” featuring roots legend Dennis Brown for a good taste of the dubsy, head-bumping flavor the cd brings.

by CORTLE