Friday, June 17, 2011

Distant Relatives : Album Review

Peace to all the knowledge seekers out there! Shout out to all the scholars! Y'all ignorant folks can listen too, I don't discriminate.. Before I start this review, I wanna go on the record and say I intentionally gave myself a year before doing so because I knew the impact of this album would take a while to sink in. *exhales!* .. With that said, here we are. Knee deep in hiphop as he's ever been, legendary MC -Nas returns to yet again make history. This time he travels with the family ( Yes I mean family, that whole marley tribe is on the album son! ) of late, pardon me-Great Revolutionary reggae riddim rocka Bob "light one up fa me" Marley himself. The results are at least monumental.. The journey starts with "As we enter" as the QB Kid and Junior Gong trade bars ala' Rae & Ghost or even Run DMC. To me, the idea was to show just how close the "Patios" and the rap-star cadence are actually related. I personally call them first cousins.
Now that the adrenaline's pumpin and the tone's set, today's agenda can now be addressed. "Tribal War" is a layered history lesson wrapped in hope of that history NOT being repeated. Self hate, in-fighting, prejudice and bigotry all play a role on the stage and one can only pray we learn to transform these cultural characteristics in the future.. ( Every man deserves to earn /every child deserves to learn ) . The lyricism at this point is already staggering and it only picks up from here. In 2010, it's difficult to define the motivation behind an album of this magnitude, as evidenced by watching the struggles both Nas and Damien went through to bring this album into fruition. I mention the year for the example that in a time where most of the music being made is so formulaic and predictable, the need for this kind of project is at the same time extremely needed and shunned respectively. Labels didn't know how to promote it. The streets wasn't / isn't exactly ready for it. Neither man ever a stranger to going against the grain, the work ethic behind the music is a no-brainer for those who stand for more than just the glitz of the entertainment business. Its amazing how easy each song relates to everyday life on both homefronts without missing a beat. Both "Leaders" and " Promised Land" are shimmering examples. From Malcom X to the Jena 6 - we get a thorough examining of what it takes to be a voice of the people. Many seem to forget you have to live as one first. Just as poignant, "Friends" looks into the complex nature of what we call friendship. Are those in your circle there because they care, or do they just pretend to care because they're in your circle? Yeah Son! This is Grown Folk Music ya heard!...The production throughout the album tells the whole story in itself. Before you even hear Esco utter those words " The Master/The Masses " , the instrumentation yells out loud "We will have Victory, pressure will only make brighter diamonds". Despair becomes Dis-Spear indeed. The album's highlight comes in the form of "In his own words" . Regardless of your color,race,creed,etc. The lesson is that the core of all our beliefs are the same, only the opinions on how the story should be told differ. Some songs need not be broken down, as you need to hear them to grasp the impact. "Nahmean" is a wild ride through the jungle while "Patience" mocks the western philosophy so prevalent today in the minds of America's people. " some of the smartest dummies/can't read the language of Egyptian Mummies. Throw a flag on the moon/but can't find food for the starving tummies. Pay no mind to the youth, cuz it's not like the future depends on it/ but save the animals in the zoo," Ah de chimpanzees dem a make big money! " ...yes indeed HipHop needs more of these gems. After sitting for a year pondering, it finally hit me! ( I knew it back then tho lol ) The bar is yet again raised. There is a limitless potential for more artists to tap into if only they are groomed with the will to do so. Hiphop at it's core was designed to cross genres. The only rule was keep it true and this album serves as a newly crafted measuring stick of truth. No more evidence is needed once Lil Wayne spits " Last night I sat the future at the feet of my son!" My only gripe with the album is that "Road to Zion" wasn't thrown in the pot as a bonus ( idk I'm greedy lmao ). But, all jokes aside, if you have yet to hear this masterpiece, put your assumptions and tunnel vision aside. Those who are like me, you know what it's like- you play it in your system every night!
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