This is the first single from Distant Relatives, a collaboration album by rapper Nas and reggae artist Damian Marley. The album title refers not only to the bond between the artists, but the connection to their African ancestry, which inspired the album both musically and lyrically.
In a statement released to the press, Nas said Distant Relatives offers social commentary on both the US and the Motherland. "As an American, we have so much even in a so-called recession that a neighborhood like Queensbridge or Red Hook is Beverly Hills compared to the way people are living in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Ghana," he said. "So obviously if we making records with that theme, there's gonna be things I want to build on. I think Africa has a lot to teach us."
Marley added: "Africa is the backbone of the world and the foundation of everything, and Africans are in a situation where they need help more than anywhere else. We know there are dire situations here in America, but when you look at America - with public libraries and free education - these are not opportunities most Africans have. It's a completely different scale of trying to help people. As human beings, we're part of a human family."
The contrasting personalities of the duo are spelt out on this track as Marley promises to "bring the weed" and Nas, who has a previous firearms conviction, the guns. "I don't have much thought on gun laws," Nas told The Daily Mirror. "They were here before I was born and seems like they'll be here when I'm gone. Guns are here like pigeons or trees. It's an ugly thing that happens when those things go off. But in a lot of instances, those things are needed. It's a hard one."