Two years after ruling Billboard Hot 200 with his "Untitled" album, Nas is ready to storm the U.S. albums chart once again. This year, the rapper dropped a "provocative collaboration" in an album titled "Distant Relatives" with reggae musician Damian Marley.
Making its way across the United States on May 18, the album already cracked the Top 10 on the U.S. iTunes reggae albums chart. On Billboard Hot 200 itself, this album which features the likes of K'naan, Stephen Marley, Joss Stone and Lil Wayne is also expected to debut high.
Though so, Nas and Damian said in a joint statement that the duet effort is not aimed at being commercial. "What we're about to do right now is go back. Back to a time when rap's greatest hits were created in basement soundrooms, not corporate boardrooms. When dancehall and hip-hop music was all about moving the crowd not moving units," they explained.
Stating that he "always liked how reggae and hip-hop have always been intertwined and always kind of pushed each other," Nas added to Reuters, "It [the project] was something that I needed to do to help me push forward lyrically."
Marley said further, "We wanted to come up with something fresh and creative and reflect Nas' music, reflect my music, but still not be clones of either. The album is multilayered with the African theme throughout, not just what we are saying but even musically."
In support of the new album, a number of dates, including a slot at Bonnaroo Music Festival, have been listed on Nas' MySpace. A music video to promote the lead single "As We Enter" has also been premiered earlier this year.
Nas is a son of jazz musician Olu Hara and postal service worker Fannie Ann Jones. He was born on September 14, 1973 and raised in the Queensbridge housing projects in New York City. He started playing trumpet at age four and began writing rhymes at age nine. From learning jazz music, he slowly switched his direction to Hip-Hop after a neighbor Willy "Ill Will" Graham introduced him to such genre. » more