The worlds of hip-hop and reggae collided at New York City’s Highline Ballroom on Monday, where the collective of Nas and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley united on stage to perform several tracks from their joint effort Distant Relatives.
For the clan of die-hard fans at the front of the stage, everything was “irie.” Reason being—the incense was burning, a live band was playing, and two established veterans kept the crowd jumping around and jamming out. The action onstage was electric as the back-up singers sweated out their hair as a result of the krumping and whining moves they showcased, while the Rastafari flag waved over the audience. Yet it was the music that captured the heart and led listeners into paradise.
A rumbling, floor-bending performance of “As We Enter” got those in attendance into the groove, and when Nas took the stage to perform “Made You Look,” the crowd hung onto every syllable. Damian killed “Welcome to Jamrock,” and Nas’ stinging verse about his ex-lover Kelis on “Strong Will Continue” left everyone in the crowd screaming a 30-second “Oooh, no he didn’t!” Oh yes, he did.