Nas & Damian Marley played Highline Ballroom – pics & video
by Benjamin Lozovsky
The day before their collaboration Distant Relatives hit the shelves, Nas and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley looked more like brothers on stage, as they performed at a record release party at Highline Ballroom Monday night (5/17). Representing the gritty consciousness of their respective solo work, both displayed a smooth intensity as they plowed through a long set of new cuts off the joint album as well as classics from their respective repertoires.
The New York MC and dancehall star connected Queens and Jamaica via Africa on their current effort, tapping into a mutual fascination with their ancestry. From breezy “feel good music” (as Nas said during the show) to battle calls, their varied approach on the new album made an already wide palette of hip hop and reggae even more unexpected live. Behind a nine-piece band and the strangely sensual gyrations of a flag-waving Rasta, the raspy singsong delivery of Marley meshed perfectly with Nas’ buttery flow. It all culminated with a rendition of the most powerful song of the night, as they lowered the volume of a fixated crowd to whispers when they performed new track “Patience” (built around a heavenly Amadou and Mariam sample). Grab that track above.
Nas & Damian go on a larger tour this summer. It hits Williamsburg Waterfront in Brooklyn. More pictures from the Highline show, and some videos, below…