Live photos: Nas and Damian Marley at Highline Ballroom
Tue May 18 2010
Photos by Dan Dealy
Queensbridge met Jamaica last night at the Highline Ballroom, as the famed New York MC Nasir Jones performed alongside Bob Marley's youngest son, Damian—the cocreator of Nas's most diverse project yet, Distant Relatives. The two met years back, while touring in the mid-'90s, and carried a mutual respect to an early collaboration, "Road to Zion," which paved the way for this album.
Performing cuts from the record with Damian, Nas seemed revitalized—even if one track was so new to him that he had to read the lyrics off his BlackBerry. The brotherly emotion and admiration between the two was apparent throughout the set, even when Nas did a medley of his classics. Solo hits like "If I Ruled the World," "You Can Hate Me Now" and "Made You Look" might not have the same "the world is ready for a change" message this new project does, but had to played for the hometown crowd. Nas has often been criticized for his poor beat choices and emotionless stage show, but this duo seems to have given both a real sense of creative direction and, y'know, fun. The two will be returning to New York this summer, to take the stage at the Williamsburg Waterfront July 31.