Due to the enormous success of their 3 summer shows, hailed by critics and fans alike as "gig of the year", hip hop superstar Nas and reggae legend Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley have announced 3 UK dates for spring 2011. Tickets go onsale from October 1st and the dates are as follows:
The set will consist of the biggest songs from both artist's careers as well the bulk of their collaborative studio album, Distant Relatives which was released earlier this year to universal critical acclaim. Featuring the signature instrumentation and musicianship of Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley with the hard-hitting beats and lyrics of Nas, the album title refers not only to the bond between the artists, but the connection to their African ancestry, which inspired the album both musically and lyrically.
Throughout the course of their musical careers, the duo has always admired each other's style. Since first meeting in 1996 the two artists have shared a mutual respect and camaraderie that was most recently showcased on the track "Road to Zion," from Damian's critically acclaimed album, Welcome to Jamrock. After having such a positive experience working together, they have now joined forces again for Distant Relatives.
In their latest collaboration, Nas and Damian trace hip-hop's roots to Africa, where the genre originated as a vital form of cultural expression and was then transported by the slave trade to the Caribbean and the American colonies. It blossomed a half century ago in the dance halls of Kingston, Jamaica, and soon migrated to the park jams and recreational centers of New York City, where the culture became known as hip-hop. This evolution forms the basis of the Distant Relatives project which, in addition to the album, also includes a documentary film, performances and a series of public discussions, the first of which took place in conjunction with National Geographic Live in Washington, DC last December. The album was produced by Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley and also features several guest appearances from Lil Wayne, who appears on the track "Generation," K'NAAN on "Africa Must Wake Up" and Tribal War," and Stephen Marley on "Leaders" and "In His Own Words."
A hip-hop icon since the early 1990s, Nas emerged from the Queensbridge neighborhood of Long Island City, a hotbed of rap artists since the '80s. The son of jazz trumpeter Olu Dara, Nas has since gone on to sell over 20 million albums worldwide over the span of his legendary career, and has acted as an ambassador for hip-hop culture throughout the globe. Nas first reached an international audience when his track "Halftime" was tapped by producer MC Serch as the opening cut on 1992's Zebrahead movie soundtrack. The first full-length album by poet and rhyme-master Nas arrived in 1994, the RIAA platinum Illmatic. Since then he has released 8 solo albums and 3 compilation albums that have garnered 11 GRAMMY nominations and certified either double-platinum, platinum and gold.
The youngest son of Reggae legend Bob Marley, Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley garnered his own place in music history when he became the first ever Reggae artist to win a GRAMMY outside of the Reggae category, taking home an award for Best Urban/Alternative performance for his title single, "Welcome To Jamrock." The acclaimed 2005 breakthrough disc Welcome To Jamrock, also won a GRAMMY for Best Reggae Album. Most recently, Marley has been touring non-stop shaking up stages all over the world.