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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Nas and Damian Marley Perform New Collaborations at SXSW

Considering Jamaican immigrants (and their soundsystem culture) were the driving force behind the birth of hip-hop, and that rap in turn inspired reggae's evolution into dancehall, one would think the two genres would mix more often.

Maybe they will in the wake of 
Nas andDamian "Jr Gong" Marley's upcoming collaboration 'Distant Relatives,' at least if their searing surprise appearance at the Fader Fort during SXSW is anything to go on.

Both are icons in their respective fields and after honing their act during last summer's Rock the Bells tour and subsequent studio sessions, the duo are clearly a well-oiled machine with stage presence to spare.

Backing each other up on their beloved hits like 'Made You Look,' 'One Mic' (performed almost a capella with only a bongo drum to keep the beat) and "Welcome to Jamrock,' the latter of which got the night's most up-for-it crowd response for the singalong chorus ads they all crooned: "out in the streets they call it murder."

But it was their collaborations that proved how well the genres mesh, especially since Marley's music also incorporates his father's traditional one-drop rhythm. (In fact, the duo even dipped into Bob's handbag, performing hip-hop-influenced versions of both 'One Love' and 'Exodus.') 'Road to Zion' was good, but 'Strong Will Continue' sounded like another instant classic track, or at the very least, it sounds satiating enough to tied us over until their joint-album drops on May 28.


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