About a year ago Damian Marley released Nail Pon Cross, the first official single off his much-anticipated fourth studio album Stony Hill. The album was supposed to have been released in October last year, but was postponed several times. But in July this year it finally hit the streets. And many of the singles off the set have been very promising, especially Caution, Nail Pon Cross and Medication.
More than a decade has passed since his previous album – not including Distant Relatives with Nas – and Damian Marley has been busy touring the world, running the Ghetto Youths label with his brothers and producing other artists.
Welcome to Jamrock was a ground-breaking effort. Stony Hill is solid follow-up, but it’s hard to reach the heights of an album like Welcome to Jamrock, which rocked the music world with its blazing title track.
Stony Hill collects a hefty 18 tracks, of which some could have been shelved, especially some of the not-so-inspired dancehall numbers and ballads. Damian Marley flexes his vocal prowess throughout the album and he is at the top of his game when singing on cuts like the rootsy Looks Are Deceiving, The Struggle Continues and Everybody Wants to be Somebody. Songs in classic Bob Marley tradition.
One of the best tracks is however Living it Up where Damian Marley explores unknown territories. It comes with a disco-fused beat and an uplifting chorus. In the verses Damian Marley is at his most authoritative.
This album will probably not rock the world as Welcome to Jamrock did, but again – to exceed Welcome to Jamrock would have been an exceptional task. And Stony Hill is a solid album, which would have been even better with 12 rather than 18 tracks.
Successful singjay and producer Damian Marley has announced his fourth and highly-anticipated album Stony Hill, the follow-up to the acclaimed Welcome To Jamrock, which was released eleven years ago.
During these years Damian Marley hasn’t been inactive though. He has put out singles, produced other artists and released albums with the short-lived super-group SuperHeavy as well as the astonishing Nas combination Distant Relatives. He has also kept himself busy with his and his brother’s label Ghetto Youths International.
The first single of Stony Hill is Nail Pon Cross, which is currently only available at Tidal, a streaming service where Damian Marley is one of the famous artist owners. A video for the single is dropping today. Also only via Tidal.
The Marley family has been busy in 2016. Ziggy Marley has put out a self-titled album and Ky-Mani Marley dropped Maestro and a combination album with German superstar Gentleman. Stephen Marley put out the much-anticipated Revelation Part II: The Fruit of Life, the follow-up to the rootsy Revelation Part I: The Root of Life. It will be a fierce battle for the Reggae Grammy.
Stony Hill is expected to drop on October 28.
After the Swedish Hultsfred festival bankruptcy last week, most of the artists were scattered in the wind. But the bankrupt festival’s best booking – Nas and Damian Marley – went to Stockholm and Gröna Lund.
Damian Marley’s father was on the same stage 30 years ago and played a record audience of about 32.000. When Nas and Damian Marley enters the stage on their first joint visit it’s not quite as many. But that doesn’t prevent the distant relatives from tearing down the place together with a live band, two backing singers and a flag waving rasta for almost two hours.
They kick start the show with As We Enter, the best track from their joint effort and live it becomes even more powerful. And the up-tempo tunes are the best, for example Nah Mean, where they get into a mean groove, or in Dispear, where the duo gets the whole crowd jumping up and down to a hardcore dancehall beat.
In addition to songs from the Distant Relatives album, Nas and Damian Marley does medleys of their own material. Nas does two such sessions, while Damian Marley only does one. And that’s symptomatic for the evening. This turns out to be Nas show.
He performs his own material with fierce intensity and in their joint performances it’s Nas that shines the most. Damian Marley disappears next to Nas. He’s timid and seems shy as he stands in front of thousands of fans. But sometimes he shines, for example in hit song Welcome to Jamrock and in the Bob Marley cover Could You Be Loved, which is performed in a furious pace. The whole crowd has their hands in the air and when Nas enters into the song it explodes.
The duo certainly made a powerful performance. But it was Nas show. From beginning to end.
Interested in knowing what other critics thought about the concert? Those who reads Swedish can check out Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Expressen and Aftonbladet.