News: Damian Marley On Working W/ Nas, "We've Been Trying To Figure Out Organic Qualities"

Monday, Nov 23, 2009 12:05PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Damian Marley recently described working with Nas for their Distant Relatives collaboration album and said the experience has been a "dream."

With the project slated for an early 2010 release, Marley explained what he has taken from his time with the rap veteran.

"[Sometimes this project seems] meant to be, as if it couldn't be coincidence," he explained in an interview. "That's just been the energy throughout the project. Working with Nas, has, that's been a dream come true. We've just been trying to figure out organic qualities, it's a homegrown album, the whole concept, and the melodies and the whole feeling of the album - cats really work off of feeling. That's how I approach music still. I'm not really somebody who has to overthink too much about the format of the music. It's about feel. That's what really what the experience has been about: making music that we feel and love. Whatever Nas feels and loves, we come together and make music based on that. We've been gettin' to know Nas, in terms of outside career and music and these kind of things. We've been just trying to, like you say, have conversations with him. Sometimes lyrics will lead to hours of conversation and things of this nature. The whole experience behind this has been a lot of fun also." (Hip Hop DX)

A tracklisting for Distant Relatives landed online in early September, however, was never confirmed from either artist's camp.

01 Intro (Something New) (prod. Damian Marley), 02 As We Enter (prod. Damian Marley), 03 Revolutionary (prod. Damian Marley), 04 Count Your Blessings (prod. Damian & Stephen Marley), 05 Belief is Key (prod. Damian Marley) 06 Africa Must Wake Up f. K'naan (prod. Nas, Damian & Stephen Marley) 07 Black Horizon f. K'naan (prod. Damian Marley) 08 Only the Strong (prod. Damian & Stephen Marley) 09 Our Generation f. Joss Stone & Stevie Wonder (prod. Damian Marley) 10 Empowerment (prod. Stephen Marley) 11 AID (prod. K'naan & Nas) 12 Let's End It (Poverty) f. K'naan (prod. 9th Wonder & Damian Marley) 13 The Earth f. Bob Marley (prod. Salaam Remi, Damian & Stephen Marley) 14 Black Man's Paper f. Erykah Badu (prod. Afry) [UK Bonus] 15 Weed On f. Snoop Dogg (prod. Damian Marley) [iTunes Bonus] (2DopeBoyz)

Nas recently spoke on the album and explained why he expected it to have a greater impact than 2008's controversial Untitled.

"The next thing for us is the tour with me and Damian," Nas revealed in an interview. "And probably a film we're working on based on the project and we plan to make a lot -- if we can help anybody in Africa, Kingston or Queens, or London, or wherever, if we can help anybody with this record, not with just hearing it but monetarily, we don't like to just get caught up in all of that charity bullsh*t that everybody, sometimes it gets a little weird with that, you know. If we can help anybody with this thing then mission accomplished because that's what it's about. Distant Relatives, you, me, that's what it's about. And I think the title alone just says, it opens up a whole different conversation about what this is all about, distant relatives, family everywhere. I wanted to be more impactful than my last album, my Untitled album, because it was just certain things on that, I didn't really get a chance to pull it off a hundred percent. There was a lot of pressure on that record. I do what I do and however it comes out, I'm happy, I'm thankful. I think this one will be a great turn-out as well." (Semtex TV)

Nas described the progress of Distant Relatives and the feedback he's received from fans on the Rock The Bells 2009 tour last summer.

Nas estimates it's about 90 percent done, Marley guesses a more conservative 75 percent, with songwriting contributions by Marley's brother Stephen and a guest feature by rapper K'Naan. "I just think it was me and Damian finding our way," Nas said about the project. "When you have two different artists working on a record when they're used to doing their own thing their own way, it's not as easy as people may think. We just flowed, and the next thing we looked up and there were so many songs done or so many songs started and worked on...we just decided to keep it going. It's not reggae. It's not rap. It's different sh*t for each of us...I know people are kind of like, 'What's happening? What's Nas doing? What's Damian doing? Is this really happening?' ... So just being out here on the road we get a good feel from people about this whole thing." (Billboard)

A confirmed release date for the album has been yet been revealed.

Check out a preview of Distant Relatives below:

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