After experiencing numerous release date changes dating back to 2009, rapper Nas and Reggae artist Damian Marley’s collaborative effort Distant Relatives finally hit music store shelves today May 18, 2010.
It’s no secret (unless of course you completely shelter yourself from the internet) that Nas has experienced a flood of media attention thanks in part to his very public separation from his soon-to-be-ex-wife, singer Kelis. While some would find it difficult to focus on presenting a collection of quality work, Nas made it seem so simple and the tracks on Distant Relatives reflects this sentiment.
Distant Relatives consists of 13-tracks that center on both educating and entertaining, edutaining if you will.
Many of the songs highlight the continent of Africa, dispelling dark beliefs and spreading enlightened truth.
The album opens up with “As We Enter” – a powerful track that kicks starts the album with Nas and Damian going verse-for-verse, affirming that there will be a fusion of Hip-Hop and Reggae throughout the album. “As We Enter” does a great job at setting that tone.
The beat for “Tribes At War,” which features Somali-Canadian rapper K’naan, borrows certain African elements that shape the culture’s music such as the use of heavy Congo drums while “Strong Will Continue” combines the sounds of Rock with reggae. This is shown by the intensity of the electric guitar that adds in delivering the message of strength and empowerment the lyrics provide.
“Count Your Blessings” is one of the tracks that illuminate the album. The single promotes positivity and encourages the listener to be thankful for what they have.
“Dispear” is the most Reggae-tinged single on the album and probably the most thematic. Using effects such as the sound of a knife slicing through the air and the roar of a tiger with onlookers whispering to one another, the track tells a story of being a warrior and draws listeners in making it apart of their reality.
And if you happen to get through the entire album not understanding how the tracks and the album’s titles relate to one another, Nas’ dialogue at the conclusion of the albums final track “Africa Must Wake Up” will clue you in to the overall message these two gentleman are attempting to present. Nas takes the liberty to propose factual knowledge about Africa and how we all are from one place. This in turn makes us Distant Relatives.
Standout Tracks: “As We Enter”, “Tribes At War”, “Dispear”, “Land of Promise”, “Africa Must Wake Up.”
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