On May 18th, 2010 Nas and Damian Marley released the much anticipated hip-hop and reggae fusion album 'Distant Relatives'. It contains themes that touch on poverty, politics, ancestry, friendship, belief and the plight of my continent Africa. I have had this album on repeat today, and today just also happens to be the first time I am listening to the whole album. I am one of those people who sleep on things that everyone is hyped up about, and I wait. My wait this time though has been very long. And the wait has been worth every single beat of this album I missed initially.
To quote 'when music hits you, you feel no pain' is perfect for today. Because it does not matter when I listened to this album, it would have sounded exactly the same as it does right now. Perfect. Nas happens to be my second favourite rapper after the late Tupac Shakur. And Damian happens to be the son of a legendary reggae artist and respected revolutionary Bob Marley. What better way to compile music built for my ears? For me, this album was bound to be perfect.
On repeat is 'Patience' which has mystic undertones, with a sample from the song 'Sabali' by Amadou Bajayoko and his wife Mariam Doumbia. It is a mellow track with sharp lyricism, a clear indication of the talent of both Nas and Damian.
My favourite though is 'In his own Words' which almost reduced me to tears. I had to discipline myself because I was at work, and that is very unprofessional. The chorus: "Jah told you in his own words 'I'll see you through'. To guide you in this cold world, and 'I'll see you through" sung by Damian is a vocal testament that makes me feel good! The lyrics between Nas and Damian sound something like a prayer, a testimony, admitting flaws and a stand against the despair in the world.
Its hard to love or enjoy every song in an album, and I have not skipped any throughout repeating the album. I will admit that I play some songs more than others, and sometimes I cannot really hear what Damian is saying. The balance is fair, if you love hip-hop more, it caters for you without taking away from those who love reggae more. For those who, unlike me, were more eager to get their hands on this album, what are your thoughts on it?
I have read both positive and negative reviews about it, and I personally think if one does not understand the African dream, the plight of hip-hop, the preaching of reggae, then this album will not make sense. We are growing wiser, and society needs to understand that it takes a black man to understand himself better than anyone else. Its Real.
For the love of music, signing out...