Monday, March 15, 2010
It looks like it'll be worth the wait
As folks will remember, I've been waiting for the release of NaS and Damian Marley's Distant Relatives with baited breath. The last tentative release date set was April 20th, but now it looks like it's been delayed almost another month until May 18th. Still, all indicators point to this being an important release.
For one, there's the breadth of the guest artists that are to be expected. The recent announcement solidifying the date also mentioned that Lil Wayne would be appearing on the track "My Generation." This is on top of the already confirmed presence of K'Naan, Damian's brother Stephen, and reggae legend Dennis Brown.
More significantly, however, is the feeling that this project is bringing forth the common rebel spirit that runs through both reggae and hip-hop. Though it's pretty much accepted today that rap would not have happened at all without the advent of dub music and sound systems, decades have obscured exactly what the two hold in common.
Back in December, Nas and Marley did an event discussing Distant Relatives in Washington, DC. The panel also included, among others, Rakim, Daddy U-Roy, Jeff Chang and DJ Kool Herc (who, of course, is a native of Jamaica and is more or less considered the godfather of hip-hop). Such a wide array of key figures in both genres being pulled out to this event (especially the reclusive Herc) says something.
"Everybody feels like it's an important project," said dancehall legend Big Youth, who was also on the panel. "Not just because of the music, but because of the whole idea behind the project, the focus of the project itself--both in aspects of it being related to Africa and us tryin' to shine a light and educate our generation on that a little bit more and also from the fact that two genres, which we've been saying, come from similar beginings and their destinies are intertwined."
So yeah, it's going to be pretty hard to have to wait until May, but it seems like the end results will be more than justified.