While touring in London, Nas and Damian Marley stopped in with Tim Westwood to discuss their most recent project togetherDistant Relatives. During the interview, the QB emcee and the son of the legendary Bob Marley discussed the pan-African approach they took their critically acclaimed album. Nas said that the LP grew out of the conversations that they had together about history and how little schools teach students about African culture.
“Me and Damian, we’re both into history, and African history is topic of [Distant Relatives], but world history at the end of the day,” explained Nas. “There’s so much to learn because you don’t get it in school, so we learned a lot on our own and we shared those…stories when we started working on the album. We just wanted to take that conversation and share that with everybody because it’s intruiging. It’s like, there’s so many lies, so much corruption…it’s amazing. Mansa Musa, the Mau-Mau warriors, Queen Nzinga, stories that you don’t hear about we talked about [them]…the album’s a little bit of that. It’s not like preachy, talkie talk; it’s just Hip Hop/Reggae on an African vibe.”
Damien Marley also discussed the relevance behind the title Distant Relatives. He explained that because of the fact that life began on the African subcontinent, he and Nas wanted the project to be an inclusive experience for all listeners of every race and origin.
“The most important thing is you, man,” said Marley. “Even within the album that is one of the points we’re trying to get across, not because we’re talking about Africa. Africa is the cradle of civilization, so we don’t care where you come from, you come from Africa, too. It’s not an exclusive thing…it’s all-inclusive of all people, all races, all classes…we’re just trying to leave you the truth: the truth is that Africa is the cradle of civilization, the motherland of all of it.”