There he was, up close and personal, legend-in-his-own-time hip-hop artist Nas. He and reggae artist Damian 'Junior Gong' Marley (son o' Bob) performed a private, intimate show last night at a recording studio in Santa Monica, thanks to KCRW. And I was lucky enough to have been in attendance.
The dynamic musical duo performed tracks off their collaborative album Distant Relatives at the studio of producer Bob Clearmountain (who has worked with The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen).
After a few songs, KCRW's DJ Garth Trinidad stepped in, joining the pair on stage for a short interview. The entire Nas/Marely performance and chat will air on Thursday, June 3rd at 9 p.m. on Garth's show.
They talked a little about the similarities between reggae and hip-hop, especially in the late '80s in New York. But mostly, the small crowd of lucky folks gathered there for the exclusive set, just wanted more, more, more music.
And we got it: a second set culminating with a tune that Garth Trinidad and KCRW music director Jason Bentley gave top-billing to, the moving 'Africa Must Wake Up.'
All in all, a chill night for the music icons, who will be performing a no-doubt packed show tonight at the Wiltern in front of a much larger audience.
Photo of Nas: Shana Ting Lipton