Leaders Featuring Stephen Marley
Label: Universal Republic Records
This one right here is for the people," announces Nas at the beginning of "Patience." It's an ethos that carries throughout Distant Relatives, his long-awaited collaboration with Damian Marley, as the two focus relentlessly on issues political and social, domestic and international. Lyrically, both are at the top of their game, even if many of the tunes -- including the excellent "As We Enter" -- sound more like chop sessions than full-fledged songs. The music is tasteful and complementary (if slightly bland), making this a mature release from the Queensbridge MC and "Jr. Gong.