Jr Gong teams up with Nas for big US, Europe tours
Howard Campbell, Gleaner Writer
Damian 'Jr Gong' Marley and American rapper Nas have announced a massive tour to promote their Distant Relatives album which is scheduled for a May 18 release by Universal Republic.
The tour is officially set to start May 21 in Arcata, California, but the duo have two warm-up dates in Abu Dhabi on April 24 and on May 5 in West Palm Beach, Florida.
According to tour tracker Pollstar, the Distant Relatives tour will play in Washington state, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Tennessee and Georgia before moving to Europe in May.
Belgium, France, Norway, Germany, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and the United Kingdom are some of the European countries where Jr Gong and Nas will perform.
The tour, which is a combination of club and festival dates, is expected to close in June in the United States with shows in Connecticut and New York.
Major figures merge
Distant Relatives is one of the summer's most anticipated music projects.
It merges the skills of two major figures in modern urban music.
After his critically-acclaimed Halfway Tree album flopped in 2001, Jr Gong made inroads in the US pop market four years later with his last album, the Grammy-winning Welcome to Jamrock.
That album was driven by the hit song of the same name and sold more than one million units, earning Gong platinum status in the US.
Nas is one of the most influential performers in hip hop. His 1994 set, Illmatic, is considered one of the genre's high points.
The two performers collaborated on Road to Zion, a track from Welcome to Jamrock.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Jr Gong said he and Nas went for a unique sound on Distant Relatives.
"We're trying to have a sound that's reminiscent of both of us, but not exactly like either," he said.
He added that proceeds from the album would go towards a charity project in Africa.