Nas & Damian Marley on Sunday, October 17 @ Avila Beach
Ending the biggest weekend of live music in San Luis Obispo history, two top tiered artist come together under the palm tree haven of Avila Beach. Finish off your stellar weekend with watching the only man to quiver Jay-Z’s boots and the son of one of the greatest world ambassadors for freedom. And yes, one lucky winner will get to enter in free. Click continue to enter to win a pair of tickets. A winner will be selected at noon.
Beginning with his classic debut, Illmatic (1994), Nas stood tall for years as one of New York City’s leading rap voices, outspokenly expressing a righteous, self-empowered swagger that endeared him to critics and hip-hop purists. Whether proclaiming himself “Nasty Nas” or “Nas Escobar” or “Nastradamus” or “God’s Son,” the self-appointed King of New York battled numerous adversaries for his position atop the epicenter of East Coast rap, none more challenging than Jay-Z, who vied with Nas for the vacated throne left in the wake of the Notorious B.I.G.’s 1997 assassination. Such headline-worthy drama informed Nas’ provocative rhymes, which he delivered with both a masterful flow and a wise perspective over beats by a range of producers: legends like DJ Premier, Large Professor, and Pete Rock
Damian Marley was only two when his father died, but the youngest of the Marley sons must have learned something. At the age of 13, he formed his first band, the Shepherds, which also included the son of Third World’s Cat Coore and the daughter of Freddie McGregor; the group even opened up the 1992 Reggae Sunsplash festival. By 1994, Damian was working on his own solo project, and with the help of his father’s label, Tuff Gong, he recorded Mr. Marley. Also lending a familial air to the sessions was the presence of Stephen Marley, who produced and co-wrote several songs for the LP. Halfway Tree from 2001 earned a Grammy nomination, but the public generally overlooked the ambitious album. Not so for the reggae-meets-hip-hop single “Welcome to Jamrock,” which became an urban phenomenon soon after its summer 2005 release. Street-level mixtapes began featuring it, urban radio couldn’t get enough of it, and remixes — both legal and not so legal — began appearing at a fast pace. The well-rounded album Welcome to Jamrock delivered on the promise of the single that same year, reaching the Top Ten.
Distant Relatives Bio
The Nas and Damian Marley collaboration Distant Relatives came together as a way to earn money for schools in Africa, but before any corny “charity album” misconceptions get in the way, know that this is one purposeful monster and a conceptional bull’s eye that fully supports its title. Actually, it all comes together in the album’s first few seconds as Marley and Nas loop a sample of Ethiopian jazzman Mulatu Astatke for “As We Enter”’s effective and infectious beat. Rapidly trading the lines (Nas): “I’ve got the guns”/(Damian): “I’ve got the Ganja”/(Nas): “And we can blaze it up on your block if you wanna” just raises the excitement level to a “Welcome to Jamrock” or “Nas Is Like,” but when the following “Tribes at War” creates a cinematic big picture of Africa crumbling while its people are unwillingly scattered across the globe, the album turns compelling. 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.