Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Damien Marley and Nasir Jones - Distant Relatives

This record had been on the radar for a minute, but seemed to get lost in all the internet gossip and/or mudslinging that came in the wake of the Nas/Kelis divorce. Of all the contrived pairings that have sprung up in recent years, this one seemed to make the most sense. Both parties are the sons of famous musicians, although the Marley legacy may very well hold a heavier weight in the equation. For the average American, though, the Nas factor may be the reason why the average head is checking in. I haven't followed Jr. Gong's career for long, but will give high marks to Welcome To Jamrock and Traffic Jam as top-notch crossover material. I am a much bigger fan of the Grants Pen spawned Supercat/Burro Banton era of dancehall than I am the new school of Jamaican Ying Yang twin schlock that I hear most of the time and the young Marley definitely can chat with the best of the old school. The pairing with Nas is somewhat unexpected, but not without its high points.

Probably the most surprising thing about Distant Relatives is how adult it is. Not Rudy Ray Moore, more grown-folks Curtis Mayfield kinda adult. Both parties are no stranger to addressing society issues, I'm just surprised that it's over tracks that are as mellow as they are. This is a real big-picture project, there are guest spots from the likes of our dear locked down Weezy, but it's on a track with Joss Stone. More often than not, the guest spots are from the likes of African rapper K'naan, Dennis Brown or even Stephen Marley. Again, far from bad, but not the tact I would have expected the duo to take. The JS-NYC horse sense is impeccable, as Distant Relatives hit the charts at number five, and they were on Kimmel fairly recently, so it would appear this project might have some legs, despite the JS-NYC perceived lack of ragamuffinery. Grab a copy and find out more about the charitable contributions that are slated to benefit from the project here.


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