Nas and Damian Marley Distant Relatives

Nas and Damian Marley Distant Relatives
Distant Relatives was the perfect concept for Damian Marley, long overdue for a follow up to 2005's Welcome to Jamrock, and Nasir Jones, a man in search of new inspiration to channel his creative juices. The idea ― Junior Gong and Nas are one in the same ― much about themselves and everything about their art can be traced back to their roots in Africa. Hence the Mother Continent features heavily on the album. The majority of the backing music doesn't stray away from the traditional reggae dancehall style of employing a live band. Sometimes live vocalists are used and there isn't a heavy reliance on samples. While this is more up Marley's alley, it's not exactly what we're used to from Nas, but he comes off seamlessly. Hell, even Lil Wayne (who's featured on "My Generation") sounds passable without any fancy production gizmos. The best track on the album is first track "As We Enter." Curiously, this is the only time on Distant Relatives that Nas and Marley go back and forth, line for line, and that's too bad because it works so well. The album has the consistency you would expect from these two talented artists. And Nas seems reinvigorated by the subject matter and working with Damian and his brother Stephen Marley, as well as the likes of K'naan (featured on "Tribes at War"). (Universal)