Nas, Damian Marley Reveal 'Distant Relatives'

Hip-Hop star Nas has revealed details about an upcoming CD with Damian “Jr Gong” Marley that is titled Distant Relatives. The pair first in 1996, but realized their chemistry in the recording studio, after they recorded “Road to Zion,” a track from Marley’s album Welcome to Jamrock.

The album was released in 2005 and earned a Grammy for Marley.

The title Distant Relatives refers to Nas and Marley’s chemistry, but also pays homage to their African Ancestry.

“As an American, we have so much even in a so-called recession that a neighborhood like Queensbridge or Red Hook is Beverly Hills compared to the way people are living in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Ghana,” Nas said in a statement. “So obviously if we making records with that theme, there’s gonna be things I want to build on. I think Africa has a lot to teach us.”

In addition to the new album of material, Nas and Marley will launch a multi-continent concert tour to showcase the new material.

“Africa is the backbone of the world and the foundation of everything and Africans are in a situation where they need help more than anywhere else,” Damian Marley added. “We know there are dire situations here in America but when you look at America–with public libraries and free education–these are not opportunities most Africans have. It’s a completely different scale of trying to help people. As humans beings, we’re part of a human family.”

The combination could also result in commercial success, as Welcome to Jamrock earned a Grammy for Best Reggae album.

Nas, who has sold over 20 million records in his career has released 8 solo albums and 3 compilation albums and earned 11 Grammy nods.

Distant Relatives is due in stores in late June 2009.