I first posted about the Nas and Damian Marley collaboration waaay back in February after hearing the big tune "As We Enter", which would later serve to be the lead single and the first track on the album "Distant Relatives". The album came out in May and shortly after i saw a poster for the tour whilst cycling through Rusholme in Manchester.
I couldn't believe that I hadn't heard anything before seeing the poster and that they would be playing at the Academy, which is a magnificent place to see any gig! I spoke to my boy Dan about the gig shortly after buying the tickets up and talked about what we would want from the show. The conclusion that we came to was that we wanted them to each come on seperately and do their own material, kind of supporting themselves, then set the place alight when they come on together at the end smashing out all of the big tunes from the album.
What actually happend was very close to that reality. Before they came on the stage Miss Dynamites brother and Kobestarr favourite Akala warmed up the crowd -showing the world that he was a more than capable MC. After Akala's departure the DJ comes to the stage and within the 20 minutes he is there managed to play and mix in 3492 different songs that spanned the whole Hip-Hop and Reggae back catalogue with all the fluidity of a jellyfish. OK – don't really know what that means, but he played a hell of a lot of tunes and it was smooth (criminal).
A red hat wearing, x-ray bespectacled rastafari then comes onto the stage giving the DJ the signal to drop the beat. Nas and Marley burst out on the stage to "As We Enter", their hit tune. They can't be playing that already? Can they? Nah….they were toying with us!! The beat turns and quickly steps into the second track on the album "Tribes at War".
Three songs in and then Marley has suddenly disappeared off stage and Nas is by himself pulling out his own tunes including "Hip Hop is Dead". Get in! That's what we wanted!! Damian comes back on a few songs later and they pull out a few more songs from their collaboration as well as a massive Reggae vs Hip Hip version of Damian's dad's song "Exodus" – SWEET.
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Nas then steps out leaving the youngest of the Marley clan to fill the stage. His mini set drawing mainly from his 2005 album "Welcome to Jamrock", which actually featured Nas on one of the tunes.
The set is a long one at over 1 and a half hours at this point with no sign of a slowdown but the crowd is up for it and I have never felt the energy like it. Then Nas puts himslef back into the mix, sending the crowd over the edge. One of The biggest songs pulled out during the home straight was this tune that should be playing now and my favourite "Strong Will Continue". After this Damian asks the audience if the like Bob Marley! Not suprisingly no one boos this as they launch into "Could You Be Loved" – stella!
Of course they do the encore thing and including "As We Enter" using it as a fitting bookend for the gig. We knew it was going to happen and loved it when it did!
Special love goes to the man who was waving the Rastafari flag throughout the whole gig and the awesome backing singers who at times outshone Nas and Marley with their ultra grinding and mega skanking. Their singing was ace too!
uld you be loved???