Distant Relatives

Distant Relatives

by Nas


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The Nas and Damian Marley collaboration Distant Relatives came together as a way to earn money for schools in Africa, but before any corny "charity album" misconceptions get in the way, know that this is one purposeful monster and a conceptional bull's eye that fully supports its title. Actually, it all comes together in the album's first few seconds as Marley and Nas loop a sample of Ethiopian jazzman Mulatu Astatke for "As We Enter'"s effective and infectious beat. Rapidly trading the lines (Nas): "I've got the guns"/(Damian): "I've got the Ganja"/(Nas): "And we can blaze it up on your block if you wanna" just raises the excitement level to a "Welcome to Jamrock" or "Nas Is Like," but when the following "Tribes at War" creates a cinematic big picture of Africa crumbling while its people are unwillingly scattered across the globe, the album turns compelling. On the track, guest K'Naan offers the provocative "I drink poison/Then I vomit diamonds" while the devastating "Leaders" features Nas' "Malcolm on the podium/Shells drop to linoleum/Swipe those/Place them on display on the Smithsonian." Still, there's much more hope and pride here than anger and darkness. The majestic "Strong Will Continue" marches forth with a positive spiritual message, while "Count Your Blessings" is musically akin to Damian's Bobby Brown collaboration "Beautiful" and father Bob's's "One Love" lyrically. The magical moment that explains it all comes in the form of an old Dennis Brown interview which is sampled for "Land of Promise." Answering the question "What do you think of Africa?" Brown replies "Just to mention of it man, is like, you call mi name man" in a voice that displays a whirlwind of emotions, from the very best to the very worst. Distant Relatives is this African contradiction explored further with hip-hop, dancehall, and by way of samples, jazz, and African music showing the way. It's a royal and a striking reminder of why these two artists have reached legendary status.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/18/2010
Label: Republic
UPC: 0602527354019
catalogNumber: 001413602
Rank: 26546

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Nas   Primary Artist
Dennis Brown   Background Vocals
Betty Wright   Background Vocals
Paul Fakhourie   Bass,Keyboards
Stephen Marley   Guitar,Keyboards
Leon Mobley   Percussion,Background Vocals
Oren Waters   Background Vocals
Damian "Junior Gong" Marley   Background Vocals,Hand Clapping
Mike Rowe   Keyboards
George Pajon   Guitar
Rovleta Fraser   Background Vocals
Roselyn Williams   Background Vocals
Noelle Scaggs   Background Vocals
Ann Marie Calhoun   Violin
Shiah Coore   Bass,Drums,Background Vocals,Hand Clapping
Will Wheaton   Background Vocals
Sean Diedrick   Keyboards
Llamar "Riff Raff" Brown   Keyboards
Andrea Carter   Guitar
Josef Powell   Background Vocals
Phillip "Winta" James   Keyboards,Background Vocals,Hand Clapping
Miles Tackett   Cello
Squiddly Cole   Percussion,Drums,Keyboards
Rannoy Gordon   Guitar
L.A.'s Best Sunny Brae Choir   Background Vocals
Oakwood School 5th Grade Choir   Background Vocals
Daniel Chappell   Brass
Andre "Illestr8" Forrest   Background Vocals,Hand Clapping
Luke Aiono   Guitar
Jah Amen Mobley   Background Vocals
Courtney Diedrick   Drums,Hand Clapping
Christopher Merridith   Bass,Guitar,Keyboards
Funji Legohn   Brass
Miles Tackette   Cello
Rahsaan Alexander   Background Vocals
Kreiger Bailey   Background Vocals
Raymond Onyai   Background Vocals
Chad Blaize   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Dennis Brown   Composer
Nas   Producer
Andrew Green   Engineer
Stephen Marley   Composer,Programming,Producer
Damian "Junior Gong" Marley   Composer,Programming,Producer,Executive Producer
Vernon Mungo   Engineer
Danny Zook   Sample Clearance
Tim Harkins   Engineer
Amadou Bagayoko   Composer
Mariam Doumbia   Composer
Marc Lee   Engineer
Benjamin Reid   Engineer
Charles Wakeman   Engineer
Lisa Parade   Director
Casey Lewis   Engineer
Josh Newell   Engineer
Dwayne Carter   Composer
Keinan Warsame   Composer
Nasir Jones   Composer,Executive Producer
George Massa   Engineer
Nesta Garrick   Art Direction

Customer Reviews

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Distant Relatives 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Smebdog More than 1 year ago
What do you get when you mix together Hip-hop, reggae, dancehouse and pop? You get Distant Relative, one of the most arresting musical collaborations in recent memory. Favorite tracks: "In His Own Words" evokes the spiritual center of Rasta. In "Count Your Blessings", Damian and Nas trade rhymes about appreciating the good things in life, while keepin' it real. "Leaders" takes us on a journey down memory lane, while exhorting today's generation to be careful who you follow. When country met rock back in the 70s (think Charlie Daniels Band), people looked at each other and wondered what took so long. Same thing in the 90s when Aerosmith wedded rock and rap in "Walk this Way". I'm wondering why reggae and hip-hop have waited until now to hook-up. These two musical and lyrical geniuses had better be thinking like Pirates of the Carribean and give us at least one or two sequels . . .this stuff is WAY too good to stop here. Fresh, original, cerebral, inspirational, fun--can't find enough adjectives to do this one justice. Hands down, the finest CD of 2010--so far . . . .
Smebdog More than 1 year ago
Distant Relatives is by no means the first collaboration between the hip-hop and Rasta cultures--but it might very well be the finest to date. Damian Marley is arguably the most musically accomplished off-spring of Bob Marley, and Nas' rich body of work speaks for itself. In fact, this reviewer is surprised more artists have not teamed these two genres together--the marriage between rap and reggae makes sense on many levels. Passionate, infectious, thoughtful and fun are four adjectives which could easily apply to this collection. "In His Own Words" is nothing less than a praise song, evoking the name of Ja, while Nas adds a heavy dose of realism to the track. "Count Your Blessings" encourages the listener to do two things at once: be thankful for the good things in life, and dance until you drop. "Leaders" gives us a bit of history, along with an exhortation to consider who it is we should be following. Songs like "Strong Will Continue", "Africa Must Wake Up" and "Land of Promise" shed light not only on Africa's problems and challenges, but also--and perhaps most importantly--on its promise and potential. This duo first emerged on one of Damian's solo releases with a song called "Road to Zion" (that song also spawned an extremely simple yet powerful video). One has to believe that the feedback from that track led these two extremely talented and respected artists to join forces for the full-length Distant Relatives. Much like Johhny Depp in the Pirate series or Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon movies, one can only hope that this effort will, in turn, lead to yet another sequel (or multiple sequels!). Let me challenge Nas' recent assertion: hip-hop is NOT dead--especially when it finds a home on the island of Jamaica. Speaking of islands . . .if I were stranded on one, and could only select one piece of music to keep me company, Distant Relatives would no doubt be on the short list of choices. Yes--it is that good!