Distant Relatives - Nas And Damian Marley
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Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics What's this?

User Score
9.4

Universal acclaim- based on 79 Ratings

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  • Summary: The African-themed album brings Nas and reggae singer Damien Marley (the youngest son of Bob Marley) together. It features guest appearances by K'naan, Lil Wayne, Joss Stone, Dennis Brown, and Damien's brother Steven Marley, who also produced the release.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. There is very little that doesn't work, with both Marley (obviously) and Nas (surprisingly) meshing flawlessly into practically everything.
  2. It feels almost vain to describe individual tracks, because every last note on Distant Relatives blends to form a seamless, cohesive whole.
  3. it's disappointing that collaborative projects featuring prominent artists from these fields haven't yet delivered a worthwhile album. Marley's 2005 release Welcome to Jamrock was a step forwards, but Distant Relatives represents an accomplished attempt to go further, fusing traits with few discernable flaws.
  4. Children's gospel choirs and Joss Stone make somewhat unnecessary appearances, but musically the project impressively meets its goal of cultural connection.
  5. Distant Relatives will be ubiquitous in many people's summer soundtrack, nagging imperfections and all, and might even enlighten some folks in the process. Music geeks will find plenty to pick apart, but the general population has no reason to ignore this release.
  6. Too often on Distant Relatives, Nas and Marley fall into a sort of middlebrow funk, kicking overripe platitudes over sunny session-musician lopes and letting their self-importance suffocate their personalities.
  7. Nas isn't as passionate or well-informed about Africa's issues as he is about his own, a problem on an album that's supposed to be all about... Africa....Meanwhile, Marley dutifully toasts over the record's limp, rootsy production but really only wakes up for the harder beats, which are few and far between.

See all 23 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Oct 3, 2012
    10
    I had to register and write a review for this CD because anyone who heard this and understood what they were trying to do on this one wouldn't have gave this CD lower then a 9 out of 10. No filler tracks, the songs go well together, they keep the CD going. Bad Meets Evil,Jay-Z and Kanye West etc. No one is going to make this good of a mainstream Collabo CD. Expand
  2. Nov 27, 2010
    10
    It's better than I expected, and I had high hopes for Nas and Damian Marley. Great production and lyrics from both seemed to complement each other very well. Expand
  3. Dec 17, 2010
    10
    This is defintely one of the best albums of the year. Nas and Damian Marley are one of the two greatest living artists I know. The lyrics are mind blowing and the production is great but not excellent. Expand
  4. Dec 21, 2010
    8
    Good album but falls short of being great. The idea of having these two artists on the one album had me intrigued, and I have to say it really does work, but some tracks are a little mediocre while others are sublime. In any case this as been going round and round for me. A great listen and enjoyable collaboration. Expand
  5. Apr 21, 2012
    8
    Damn I did not expect this album to be this good. Reggae fused with rap is sick, and who better to be fuse them than two legends in their respective genres? As We Enter, Nah Mean and the chilling Patience are highlights from this album. Expand
  6. Aug 13, 2010
    7
    A lyrically robust collection with unfortunately average production.

    Nas and Damian Marley are two of the most intellectual songwriters in
    the industry. Their lyrics displayed portraits of frustration, poverty, angst, politics, crime, and hope. It is only right that they make an album together making a unique experience of reggae and hip hop.

    The lyrics are amazingly complex but are able to bring points across. The lyrical mafioso Nasir Jones, as always laces his words with staggering flows, multisyllabic rhythms, creativity, and sense. He shows his analysis of modern day life through detailed observations that have underlying tones of criticism.

    The guest vocals don't do bad either. K'Naan gives a thoughtful verse on Tribal War and Stevie Wonder is a beautiful fit. But Lil Wayne? Weezy does not quite belong on an album like this. He should have been featured on a quieter track. He sounds out of tune on My Generation. Even lead star Damian gets tiresome in songs like Nah Mean.

    The biggest fault of the album however is the production. Parts are brilliant but others are repetitive and ultimately boring. The sound is dated and unoriginal. The blandness simply cannot fit with the mighty prose.

    Distant Relatives is somewhat of an extra to one's collection. The rhymes are the main show but the production really keeps it from being a classic. Maybe a little more ambition could have helped.
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