Distant Relatives is a collaborative studio album by American recording artist Nas and Jamaican Recording artist Damian Marley, scheduled to be released on May 18, 2010.
News of the album first came at the 2009 Grammy Awards, when Nas told MTV reporters "Right now, I'll tell you first, I'm working on an album with Damian Marley. We tryin' to build some schools in Africa with this one, and trying to build empowerment," he said. "We're tryin' to show love and stuff with this album. So, the record's … all about really the 'hood and Africa also as well.
Marley told Rolling Stone, "We're trying to have a sound that's reminiscent of both of us, but not exactly like either," says Marley, who adds they cut the disc with a live band. Proceeds will go to a project in Africa — possibly building a school in the Congo — and songs like "Count Your Blessings" reflect on the plight of the continent. "A lot of charity albums come off corny," says Marley. "We want this to be something you'd play in your car." The album title derives from Nas and Marley's relationship, their shared African ancestry, and the shared ancestry of the entire human race; which musically and lyrically inspired each recording.
Leftover tracks from Nas and Marley's previous albums were originally planned for an EP based on Africa. After working together, the duo decided to record a full album together.
The album's content will heavily revolve around Africa, from ancestry and poverty. The duo worked to maintain the theme, which will contain samples from African music. The album will offer their social commentary of the United States and Africa[.
Recording and production
Mixing hip hop and reggae, Nas and Marley began recording in 2008; recording sessions took place in Los Angeles, California, and Miami, Florida. Marley and his brother, Stephen, produced a majority of the album. They plan to feature guests, Stephen Marley, Dennis Brown, Joss Stone, Lil Wayne and K'naan[.
The first single, "As We Enter", was released on iTunes on February 23, 2010. It has so far peaked at #10 on the iTunes Hip Hop/Rap charts and #41 on the iTunes Music charts.
"Strong Will Continue" is to feature in the soundtrack for 2010 FIFA World Cup video game.
At a sold-out panel discussion on the African diaspora and its relation to music, sponsored by National Geographic, Damian and Stephen Marley and Nas were among the several hip hop and reggae musicians voicing their solidarity. The discussion focused on the collaborations between artists of the two genres, and highlighted the Distant Relatives project.
1. "As We Enter"
2. "Tribal War" (featuring K'naan)
3. "Strong Will Continue"
4. "Leaders" (featuring Stephen Marley)
6. "Count Your Blessings"
8. "Land of Promise" (featuring Dennis Brown)
9. "In His Own Words" (featuring Stephen Marley)
10. "Nah Mean"
12. "My Generation" (featuring Joss Stone & Lil Wayne)
13. "Africa Must Wake Up" (featuring K'naan)
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