Distant Relatives - Nas And Damian Marley
Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Distant Relatives is this African contradiction explored further with hip-hop, dancehall, and by way of samples, jazz, and African music showing the way. It's a royal and a striking reminder of why these two artists have reached legendary status.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 60
    Sadly, Nas brings self-importance to "Strong Will Continue," that's encumbered his latter career, but it's the exception on a broadly fruitful collaboration. [Jul 2010, p.115]
  5. Reggae-rap soundclash fails to catch fire. [July 2010, p. 136]
  6. 80
    [This album] finds a glorious similitude between the two disciplines. [Jul 2010, p.92]
  7. The live-band reggae sometimes feels sleepy, but Nas is there to slap the track awake--as on "Land of Promise."
  8. Nas and Marley's less-than-transcendent but solid collaboration doesn't exactly offer the best of both worlds, but heaven knows it towers above Jay-Z and R. Kelly's similarly conceived, infinitely less ambitious and conscious The Best Of Both Worlds.
  9. They've made an album that is bold and commendable, and nothing like as preachy as it might have been.
  10. 60
    At times, the results are a bit aimless; even a cute kids' chorus can't save "My Generation" from Joss Stone's wailing or Lil Wayne's awkward motivational turn. When the two principles catch a groove, though, it's impressive.
  11. It's thoughtful, sincere, weighty stuff, tackling subjects from African poverty to the diamond trade without sounding preachy or schmaltzy.
  12. Few best-of-both-worlds collaborations work as well as Distant Relatives, which pairs Nas' incendiary rhymes with the keening hooks and global rhythms that Bob Marley's youngest son favors.
  13. It all adds up to something that is far less than a great record, but those who approach Distant Relatives can expect at least a handful of keepers for the summer months.
  14. This is a solid, serious collection of songs--the product of two thoughtful and ambitious musicians--and an album that doesn't need a panel discussion to establish its importance.
  15. 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.
  16. It feels almost vain to describe individual tracks, because every last note on Distant Relatives blends to form a seamless, cohesive whole.
  17. 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.
  18. Still, as much as the warped good intentions of the album can get exhausting and embarrassing, Nas and Damian's creative side remains pure enough to carry one through the lunkheaded didacticism.
  19. Nas and Damian Marley are a formidable pairing, seemingly on the same level throughout most of the album in thought and overall presence.
  20. Nas and Marley have created an intermittently novel and vexing record, one that proves that the two genres need not be so distant, provided they can avoid didacticism.
  21. Children's gospel choirs and Joss Stone make somewhat unnecessary appearances, but musically the project impressively meets its goal of cultural connection.
  22. There is very little that doesn't work, with both Marley (obviously) and Nas (surprisingly) meshing flawlessly into practically everything.
  23. The result is an exceptionally melodic reggae album that's intensified by rapping devoid of dancehall patois and a hard edge unknown to roots revivalism. The result is also an exceptionally political hip-hop album that's most convincing when it doesn't multiply Afrocentric distortion by Rastafarian reasoning.
User Score
9.2

Universal acclaim- based on 80 Ratings

User 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'tI 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. Full Review »
  2. 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 theirDamn 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. Full Review »
  3. 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 reallyGood 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. Full Review »