Label: Def Jam
Reviewed by: Raa Daddy
When I first caught wind of this potential meeting of the minds, my heart skipped a few beats and the adrenal acceleration began. Two distinct sounds, two different worlds, one message. Distant Relatives is the culmination of two musical messiahs making history. One birthed in Hip-Hop and the other in reggae, Nas and Damian Marley are the perfect conduit for the message of self-preservation, eternal exploration, and historical significance. The album kicks off with a positive vibe and continues throughout this project built for those who appreciate above average music. Damian Marley and brother Stephen handle the production throughout and the roots infused beats are fluid fire. Tribes At War featuring K’Naan is a look through the lens at street strife in America and Africa. Painting eye-opening imagery with vividly dynamic wordplay, this one will transport you to the slums for a firsthand account of why things have gone awfully wrong. One of the standout tracks on this worldly release is presented early on, in the form of Strong Will Continue. Will you be ready when the final days arrive? The journey to the end and beyond is intertwined with rhymes of the everyday hustle and Nas throws in a few thinly veiled lines hinting at his ex’s infidelity issues for good measure. From music to blaze to, through to music to sex to, Distant Relatives grooves along at a nice pace. Friends tears a page straight out of the book of life that rings true with every listen. Dispear (This Spear) is another incredible illustration of the “by any mean necessary” lifestyle some live to make it to another day. With a pulsating backdrop Nas and Jr. Gong go back and forth over the ills of pursuing power and the almighty dollar. Nah Mean screams old school head-knocker with hard drums clapping through gun talk machismo and puffed chest bravado. I smell an anthem. Damian Marley spits one of the sickest verses I’ve heard in years on Patience, breaking down the (false) truths we’ve been fed and the answers that need to be questioned. God’s Son and Bob’s Son are a lethal combination and hopefully Distant Relatives is one of many more to come.