By Brock ThiessenNas and Damian Marley are joining forces for their own rap/reggae crossover album. Called Distant Relatives, the joint effort is slated for a release sometime in late June and follows up on a previous collaboration between the two on the track "Road to Zion," which appeared on Marley's 2005 album, Welcome to Jamrock.
According to the press release, Distant Relatives will focus on the themes of African ancestry and poverty, with Nas adding: "As an American, we have so much even in a so-called recession that a neighbourhood like Queensbridge or Red Hook is Beverly Hills compared to the way people are living in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Ghana. So obviously if we making records with that theme, there's gonna be things I want to build on. I think Africa has a lot to teach us."
Nas and Marley are planning to do an extensive world tour in support of Distant Relatives but so far the only performances announced are those headlining the roaming hip-hop fest Rock the Bells, which from June 27 to August 9 will visit ten North American cities, including Toronto, Vancouver, Chicago and New York. And while the specific dates of each show and the venues have yet to be revealed, also on the bill will be KRS-One, K'Naan, RZA, Raekwon and Slum Village, among others.