"It's called 'Distant Relatives' because that's what we are! This isn't a concert, it's a family affair!" Nas announced onstage at Brooklyn's Williamsburg Waterfront on Saturday (July 31), referring to his collaborator and co-headliner Damian Marley. Throughout the show, the duo performed cuts off their "Distant Relatives" album together as well as doing alternating solo sets, all to a crowd of 7500 with the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop.
The show began with "As We Enter," with Nas and Damian backed by a full band that included a bongo player, backing vocalists, DJ Green Lantern and even a flag waver who waved the Jamaican banner for the duration of the 90 minute set.
After teaming up for "Tribal War" and "Nah Mean," Nas' solo set proved who the audience was really there to see. Deafening screams peppered a shortened "Nas Is Like," "Represent," the full version of "Hip Hop is Dead," and finally a medley of "Sweet Dreams / If I Ruled the World."
Damian returned to the stage for "Leaders," telling the audience, "We take for granted electricity, water, even concerts. Count your blessings," before launching into the album favorite of that name. During "Land of Promise," the entire crowd put their lighters up at Nas' request.
Next came Damian's solo set, which included "The Mission" and "More Justice." He then sang father Bob Marley's hits "War" and "No More Trouble." "If you're next to someone who's not jumping, grab them!," Damian yelled before incorporating the elder Marley's "Exodus" into "Move."
Nas returned for Distant Relatives cut "Patience," which featured Damian Marley's falsetto. "Strong Will Continue" was a standout that suited the audience's energy and had an anthem feel. During Nas' "Got Yourself A Gun," so familiar with fans that he barely had to rap, he let them take over. "Made You Look" had the audience in a frenzy that continued to Damian's solo "Welcome to Jamrock." Lighters made their return for "Road to Zion," after which Damian told the audience, "This song is about the birthplace of humanity," before moving into finale "Africa Must Wake Up" which had the entire audience singing along.
As the audience screamed for more, an instrumental version of Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" played before Nas returned for "One Mic," which induced a sudden surge by the audience, eager to get closer to the stage. He asked the audience, "If we wanted to we'd stay here all night. Would you stay?" He upped the ante continuing, "We've been all around the world - Jamaica showed us some love. You need to show Damian how we get down here," as the audience screamed. The duo finished their set with "Could You Be Loved," to fans' delight.
Here Is Nas and Damian Marley's Williamsburg Setlist:
As We Enter
Nas Is Like
Hip Hop is Dead
Sweet Dreams / If I Ruled the World
Count Your Blessings
Land of Promise
War / No More Trouble
Strong Will Continue
Hate Me Now
Got Yourself a Gun
Made You Look
Welcome to Jamrock
Road to Zion
Africa Must Wake Up
Could You Be Loved