The idea of a hip hop icon and his reggae counterpart doing an album collaboration held quite an attraction to me and I had such anticipation for the album based on previous kind of collaborations as the Best of Both Worlds by Jay-Z and R. Kelly as well as the mash-up series by Mtv that was highlighted by the Collision Course album by Linkin Park and Jay-Z.
Distant Relatives by Nasir ‘Nas’ Jones and Damien ‘Junior Gong’ Marley; offspring reggae legend of Bob Marley, is a fusion of hip hop and reggae as never done before and the first single off it; As We Enter did a world of good for the album with its rhythmic beat that successfully complemented the seamless exchange of verses between the two artistes.
But if you thought the rest of the album would follow suit…the album would be a total flop; and that’s just being nice. That said, it’s safe to state that the duo do their best to lace their respective bars with not your average material and I’m especially impressed with Junior Gong’s contribution to the album – that’s apart from being the album’s co-producer – as highlighted in his flow on ‘Nah Mean’, Gong did to the track what Eminem did to Jay-Z’s ‘Renagade’ with all due respect to Nas.
Damien Marley maintains that tempo well enough in the following track ‘My Generation’ which featured Joss Stone and Lil’ Wayne who does his bit, as always “so when u finish reading Revelations/thank God for my generation”.
Flag Wavin’ K’Naan is also featured on the album in the track Africa Must Wake Up, a very slow tempo song I must warn that requires your attention for twenty seconds short of seven minutes and you’ll have to be patient before hearing K’Naan; he comes in just after the third minute and frankly I thought he’d do more but alas, he was just passing by I guess. The beat goes up a notch in tempo though from the fourth minute before going back to status quo in the final minute. Why I’ve gone through that trouble is to say, it’s a groovy song actually.
My qualms with the album is why it couldn’t live up to its title and get some distant relatives on the album as well with names like South African rapper HHP and maybe a 9ice from Nigeria coming to mind, it would’ve helped capture the whole idea of the album in my view.
Another down of the album for me is expecting a little bit more on the album – tasking two or more producers to lace their beats on, Wyclef Jean and Jerry Duplessis for starters – especially seeing as the album took two years to produce.