The youngest son of Bob Marley, Damian Marley is blazing a different musical trail from that of his brothers and sisters. While still staying true to his Rastafarian roots, Damian has found a more modern style of music in the fusing of dancehall and reggae, even including a turn table on tour dates. The fusion has appeared on all of Marley's albums, but has reached its peak of evolution on his latest album, Distant Relatives, with rapper Nas. The constant concert dates and charitable events for the album are officially over with, leaving no more tour dates in 2011. Fans who missed the tour dates will just have to wait patiently for the release of new music in the meantime.
Damian Marley was born on July 21, 1978, in Kingston, Jamaica. He is the youngest child of Bob Marley and the only child between the reggae icon and Cindy Breakspeare, who was a jazz musician and Miss World 1976. Bob Marley died when Damian was only two years old, leaving virtually no time to personally get to know his father. Marley soon decided to embark on a solo career and worked with his brother Stephen on his debut album, Mr. Marley,in 1996. The album was received with mixed emotions by fans of reggae, as the unconventional mixing of reggae and hip-hop contrasted with the music of his father and siblings. Fans and critics both changed their minds with the release of Halfway Tree in 2001. The album featured collaborations with musicians like Eve, Capleton, and Yami Bolo. While record sales were less than astronomical, many critics and fans praised the album and it even won a Grammy for Best Reggae Album in 2002.
Damian Marley outdid himself on his 2005 album, Welcome to Jamrock. It marked the pinnacle of Marley's reggae/hip-hop style evolution and did so without detracting from either genre. The album -- in particular, the title track -- dealt with serious political and social issues on top of sharp and clever beats. The album sold half a million records in the US (certified gold) and won two Grammys in 2006. The success of the album put a fire under Damian Marley's tour dates, as bigger and bigger audiences began to attend.
The track "Road to Zion" ultimately led to the artists' collaboration on their latest album, Distant Relatives, released in 2010. The album focuses around Africa; whether it be the ancestry, culture, poverty, politics, or about Africa being the connection between an American rapper like Nas and a Jamaican reggae artist like Damian. The album has succeeded in its goal, as the album debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200, making it Damian's highest charting album to date. Damian and Nas followed the success of the album by embarking on a series of concert dates and awareness events, which is the cause of no tour dates in 2011. However, a reggae star like Damian Marley isn't likely to shirk tour dates for long, so be sure to check Eventful for any updates.