Nas & Damian Marley
Released: May 2010
Distant Relatives is a collaborative studio album by American rapper Nas and Jamaican reggae artist Damian Marley, released May 18, 2010, on Universal Republic and Def Jam Recordings. Production for the album took place during 2008 to 2010 and was handled primarily by Damian Marley and Stephen Marley. Fusing musical elements of hip hop and reggae, Distant Relatives features lyrical themes concerning ancestry, poverty, and the plight of Africa.
The album debuted at number five on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 57,000 copies in its first week. Upon its release, Distant Relatives received positive reviews from most music critics.
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. 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.”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.