New Music Tuesday: Nas & Damian Marley

It’s not that I’m a die-hard reggae fan. I’m not. But there’s little question about hip-hop’s roots in Jamaican toasting, and Damian Marley (Bob’s kid) is among the best there is in today’s world of music. Add that to always strong work of Nas—one of rap’s most credible lyricists—and you’re bound to end up with something musically substantial and meaty.

Nas & Damian MarleyThe newest collaboration from Marley and Nas, entitled “Distant Relatives,” is a perfect marriage of reggae and rap. It’s not like a bunch of rap songs with some Sean Paul verse attached to the end, and it’s also not some overly-loose pop reggae track with a name brand hip-hop voice on the intro and outro. It’s a legitimate blend of the two—something both artists took special care to do. They wanted to create something authentic, something believable, and most importantly, something musical.

That’s said knowing full well that much of today’s music is produced for the sole purpose of making record labels money. But the proceeds to this record, centered around themes of a shared African heritage and the love to be shared among mankind, is going to African charities, most likely to build a school. These guys don’t see a dime from this album, which means they put it together simply to create good music and support a good cause. Even if the album sucked, that alone would make it respectable.

But it doesn’t suck. Not at all. The first single, “As We Enter,” is absolutely mixtape-worthy and prepped for serious hip-hop radio play. “Tribal War,” featuring K’naan (another FS favorite) is both haunting and emotional. Joss Stone and Li’l Wayne share the track “My Generation,” which preaches positive activism in the young people of the world.

Look, Nas alone is reason enough to buy an album, but when you’ve got the blood of Bob Marley, a good cause, and music for the love of the music as well, you’re going to get your money’s worth and then some. Even if you hate the record (and we’re guaranteeing that you won’t), the worst-case scenario is that you indirectly helped build a school in Africa. And you’d have to be a cold hearted S-O-B to say no to that.

Check out this trailer for the album, out in stores now!

About the Author

Joel Brigham writes about stuff. It’s pretty much all he cares about. Stuff like music and more music. But he mostly cares about music. And also music.

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