Released in 2010, this has to be one of the most important albums to come out in the last decade period. A collaboration between anointed reggae royalty Damian 'Junior Gong' Marley and the most consistent MC and arguably hip hop's G.O.A.T (greatest of all time) Nasir Jones otherwise known as just Nas. The album is titled Distant Relatives, an acknowledgement of a mutual lineage that traces its roots to Africa. Both are sons of famous musicians and command solid respect in their respective fields. Hip hop and reggae are of course cousins and West indians and African Americans are by default Africans. It's clear to see where this is going - one does not necessarily need to be a hip hop or reggae fan - just a fan of good music.
This project was deliberately created to draw attention to Africa and highlight the importance of the continent and its contribution to modern culture. The result of this necessary collaboration is an irresistible synergy, a beautiful concoction of potent lyrics that address diverse issues relating to Africa. The two are undoubtedly very integillent and conscious individuals who bounce off each other naturally despite one rapping in patois and the other spitting hardcore New York street slang. They both stick to what they do best and there is no danger one outshining the other.
They articulate their points comfortably without being too preachy or informational - an inherent risk whenever artists 'try' to be conscious. These two do not try, they just are.
From the opening cut As We Enter, the listener embarks on a journey of thought provoking insights and any fears are allayed as the two trade bars seamlessly while their spiritual connection flows throughout the rest of the project. Stand out tracks for me are Patience /'Sabali' which sampled Amadou & Mariam, Africa Must Wake Up and Promised Land which sampled the late reggae star Dennis Brown.
If you don't already, go and get a copy - you might just learn something!...