New Studio Album “Distant Relatives” Set to Drop May 18
(Wednesday, March 17, 2010) Toronto, ON – Nas and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley are proud to announce the release of their highly-anticipated collaborative studio album, Distant Relatives (Universal Republic/Universal Music Canada) on May 18. 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 Relativesproject 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”. The album was produced by Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley and also features several guest appearances from Joss Stone and Lil Wayne, who appear on the track “Generation,” K’NAAN on “Africa Must Wake Up” and Tribal War,” andStephen 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, with aprelude to the tour at SXSW on March 17.
THE TRACK LISTING FOR DISTANT RELATIVES IS AS FOLLOWS:
1. As We Enter
2. Tribal War (featuring K’NAAN)
3. Strong Will Continue
4. Leaders (featuring Stephen Marley)
6. Count Your Blessings
8. The Promised Land (featuring Dennis Brown)
9. In His Own Words (featuring Stephen Marley)
10. Nah Mean
12. My Generation (featuring Lil Wayne)
13. Africa Must Wake Up (featuring K’NAAN)
A hip-hop icon since the early 1990s, Nas emerged from the Queensbridge neighbourhood 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, Illmatic, arrived in 1994. Since then he has released eight solo albums and three compilation albums that have garnered eleven Grammy® nominations.
The youngest son of Reggae legend Bob Marley, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley garnered his own place in music history when he becamethe first ever Reggae artist to win a GRAMMY outside of the Reggae category, taking home an award for Best Urban/Alternativeperformance 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.