Damian Marley

Damian Robert Nesta "Jr. Gong" Marley (born 21 July 1978) is a Jamaican reggae recording artist. Damian is the youngest son of reggae legend Bob Marley.[1] Damian was 2 years old when his father died; he is the only child born to Marley and Cindy Breakspeare, Miss World 1976. Damian's nickname Junior Gong is derived from his father's nickname of Tuff Gong. Damian has been performing since the age of 13.

Damian Marley
Nas and Damian Marley performing in Wellington Photo By Brady Dyer (cropped)
Marley performing with Nas in Wellington
Background information
Birth nameDamian Robert Nesta Marley
Also known as
  • Jr. Gong
  • Gongzilla
  • Big Gongzilla
  • Minister of commerce
Born21 July 1978 (age 40)
Kingston, Jamaica
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Deejay
  • rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active1992–present
Labels
Associated acts

Career

Early releases (1992–04)

At age 13, he formed a musical group by the name of the Shephards, which included the daughter of Freddie McGregor and son of Third World's Cat Core. The group opened the 1992 Reggae Sunsplash festival.[2] The band fell apart in the early 1990s and Damian started his solo career.[3]

With the backing of his father's label, Tuff Gong, he released his 1996 debut album Mr. Marley which surprised many who were unaccustomed to hearing a Marley deejaying rather than singing.[4] Marley released his second studio album Halfway Tree. The name "Halfway Tree" comes from his mother, Cindy Breakspeare, being from the rich part of town, and his father, Bob Marley, coming from the poor part of town, thus him being "a tree halfway in between the 'rich' world and 'poor' world."[5] Additionally, Halfway Tree is a well-known landmark that marks the cultural center of Half-Way-Tree, the clock tower that stands where the historical eponymous cotton tree once stood is featured prominently behind Marley on the cover of the album. The album was released on 11 September 2001 and received the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. It was co-produced by Damian Marley and his brother Stephen Marley, who had also produced Damian's debut album, Mr Marley.

Welcome to Jamrock (2005)

Damian Marley070607
Marley in June 2007.

Marley released his third studio album Welcome to Jamrock which was released on 12 September 2005 in the United States and 13 September 2005 in the United Kingdom. The album sold 86,000 copies in its first week of release,[6] and was eventually certified gold after selling 500,000 copies in the United States.[7] Other notable singles from the album include "The Master Has Come Back", "Road to Zion" featuring Nas, and "Khaki Suit" featuring Bounty Killer and Eek-A-Mouse.

Damian's half-brother, Stephen Marley, was a producer and co-writer of the hugely successful song of the same name. The lyrics to the single "Welcome to Jamrock", which was performed over a riddim produced by Sly and Robbie for Ini Kamoze some 20 years earlier,[8] centred around poverty, politics and crime in Jamaica. While the single was controversial at home over its perceived negative viewpoint of the island,[6] many praised the content of the song. Dr. Clinton Hutton, professor at the University of the West Indies, said of the single, "'Jamrock' uses the icon of the inner city, of alienation, of despair, of prejudice, but of hope, of Jamaican identity, to remind us of the fire of frustration, the fire of creativity, the fire of warning to open up our eyes and look within to the life we are living. And still some of us don't want to hear and to look and say enough is enough."[9] The single reached No. 13 on the UK Singles Chart[10] and No. 55 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.[11] It was also No. 100 on the Top 100 Songs of the Decade listing by Rolling Stone.[12]

Distant Relatives (2006–10)

Nas and Damian Marley performing in Wellington Photo By Brady Dyer
Nas and Marley performing in Wellington, New Zealand, 2011

At the 2006 Grammy Awards, he won Best Reggae Album and Best Urban/Alternative Performance for Welcome to Jamrock. He is the only Jamaican reggae artist in history to win two Grammy Awards on the same night. He is also the only reggae artist to win in the Best Urban/Alternative Performance category at the Grammy Awards. At the 2009 Grammy Awards news of a collaborative album between Marley and Nas was announced, when Nas told MTV reporters "Right now, I'll tell you first, I'm working on an album with Damian Marley. We tryin' to build some schools in Africa with this one, and trying to build empowerment. We're tryin' to show love and stuff with this album. So, the record's ... all about really the 'hood and Africa also as well."[13]

On 17 May 2010, Marley released Distant Relatives, a collaborative album with Nas. 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.[14] They have previously collaborated on "Road to Zion", on Marley's Welcome to Jamrock album. The album joins two different flavours of music with Marley's dub-rock aesthetic and Nas' flow. Damian and Stephen produced much of the album. The proceeds of this album will go to building schools in the Congo.[15]

The album debuted at number five on the US Billboard 200 chart with first-week sales of 57,000 copies.[16] It serves as Nas's tenth top-ten album and Marley's second top-ten album in the United States.[16] The album also entered at number four on Billboard's Digital Albums,[17] and at number one on its R&B/Hip-Hop Albums,[18] Rap Albums,[19] and Reggae Albums charts.[20] Internationally, Distant Relatives attained some chart success.[21][22] It entered at number 33 on the European Top 100 Albums chart.[23] In the United Kingdom, it debuted at number 30 on the UK Albums Chart and at number four on the R&B Albums Chart.[24][25] In Canada, the album entered at number 9 on the Top 100 Albums chart.[26] In Germany, it debuted at number 38 on the Media Control Charts.[27]

The first single, "As We Enter", was released on iTunes on 23 February 2010.[28] It has so far peaked at No. 10 on the iTunes Hip Hop/Rap charts and No. 41 on the iTunes Music charts. The single debuted at number 39 on the UK Singles Chart.[29] At a sold-out panel discussion on the African diaspora and its relation to music, sponsored by National Geographic, Damian and Stephen Marley and Nas were among the several hip-hop and reggae musicians voicing their solidarity. The discussion focused on the collaborations between artists of the two genres, and highlighted the Distant Relatives project.[30]

SuperHeavy (2011–15)

Damian-Marley

The existence of SuperHeavy was secret until May 2011.[31] Mick Jagger, English musician and the lead vocalist of rock band The Rolling Stones, announced its formation on 20 May 2011.[32] SuperHeavy was Dave Stewart's idea.[32] Inspired by the sounds washing into his home in St Ann's Bay, Jamaica, Stewart urged Jagger to fuse their sound with that of Indian orchestras.[33] Stewart and Jagger had mutual liking for Indian orchestrations; thus, A. R. Rahman was added to the supergroup, as well as British singer Joss Stone.[34] The name of the band is said to be inspired by Muhammad Ali.[35] The group began recording their self-titled debut album in early 2009 at a studio in Los Angeles. They recorded about 35 hours of music, with some songs originally lasting "an hour and 10 minutes" before they were whittled down.[36] The album was previewed at Jim Henson Studios, Los Angeles, on 30 June 2011. The band played eight of the recorded songs at the event.[37]

"Miracle Worker" was released on iTunes as the album's lead single on 7 July 2011.[38] It is a reggae song performed by Marley, Stone and Jagger.[39][40] The single entered at number 195 on the UK Singles Chart.[41] The music video was released on YouTube on 12 August 2011. Directed by Stewart and filmed at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, the video features all five members of the band.[42] "Satyameva Jayathe" (the national motto of India, which literally translates as "Truth Alone Triumphs") was released as the second single from the album on 9 August 2011, a week before India's Independence Day on 15 August. Composed by Rahman to have an Indian feel, Jagger sings in Sanskrit on the song, which also features Stewart, Stone and Marley.[43][44] The song premiered exclusively on Radio Mirchi 98.3 FM on 9 August across twenty-two Indian cities, and Tata DoCoMo is set to simultaneously promote the song and the album on mass media.[45] "Beautiful People" reached number sixty-four on the Dutch Single Top 100 chart.[46]

Damian also worked with electronic artist Skrillex on a song called "Make It Bun Dem" in 2012.[47] This song also appears in the 2012 game Far Cry 3. Affairs of the Heart was a massive hit in Jamaica, topping the reggae charts.[48]

Stony Hill (2016–present)

Damian Marley released his 4th studio album, titled Stony Hill, in July 2017. Backed by the first single Nail Pon Cross, released in August 2016. The album won the Grammy award for Best Reggae Album at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.

Musical style

Damian marley
Marley performing on an unknown date

Marley has described his music as "dancehall and reggae. I've noticed ... people trying to separate the two of them," he continues. "It's Jamaican culture in general. I don't try to classify or separate."[49] Distant Relatives fused hip hop and reggae musical elements,[50] Marley and Nas also incorporated samples from African music into the album.[51] The album's lyrical content heavily revolves around themes concerning Africa, from ancestry and poverty,[51][52] with social commentary of the United States and Africa.[50][53] The track "Count Your Blessings" reflects on the plight of Africa.[54]

Damian Marley was nicknamed "Jr. Gong" in honour of his legendary father, Bob "Tuff Gong" Marley. His mother, Cindy Breakspeare, is a Jamaican jazz musician, former model and crowned Miss World 1976. After seeing the movie Damien: Omen II, which is about the coming of the Antichrist, one of Bob's last requests in Germany was to have Damian's name changed. "Damien being a devil...It was inappropriate for him as a Rastafarian to have a child with that name," Bob said and Damian's name was later changed.[55]

Discography

Studio albums

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
US US
R&B
US
Rap
US
Reg.
FRA
[56]
SWI
[57]
UK
[58]
1996 Mr. Marley
  • Released: 9 September 1996
  • Label: Tuff Gong
  • Format: CD, digital download
2
2001 Halfway Tree
  • Released: 11 September 2001
  • Label: Universal Motown
  • Format: CD, digital download
2
2005 Welcome to Jamrock
  • Released: 13 September 2005
  • Label: Universal
  • Format: CD, digital download
7 4 3 1 188 34
2017 Stony Hill
  • Released: 21 July 2017
  • Label: Republic
  • Format: CD, digital download
65
[60]
1
[61]
104
[62]
26 94

Collaborative releases

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
US US
R&B
US
Rap
US
Reg.
FRA
[56]
2010 Distant Relatives
(with Nas)
5 1 1 1 27
2011 SuperHeavy
(with SuperHeavy)
  • Released: 16 September 2011
  • Label: A&M
  • Format: CD
26
2013 Set Up Shop Vol. 1[64]
(with various artists)
  • Released: 19 February 2013
  • Label: Ghetto Youths International
  • Format: CD
2014 Set Up Shop Vol. 2[65]
(with various artists)
  • Released: 23 December 2014
  • Label:Ghetto Youths international
  • Format: CD
2015 Set Up Shop Vol. 3[66]
(with various artists)
  • Released: 22 December 2015
  • Label: Ghetto Youths International
  • Format: CD
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Singles

Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications Album
US US
R&B
US
Rap
FRA
[56]
UK
[10]
2005 "Welcome to Jamrock" 55 18 12 13 Welcome to Jamrock
"The Master Has Come Back" 74
"Road to Zion"
(featuring Nas)
57
2006 "Beautiful"
(featuring Bobby Brown)
39
"All Night"
(featuring Stephen Marley)
79
2007 "Now That You Got It"
(Gwen Stefani featuring Damian Marley)
59 The Sweet Escape
2010 "As We Enter"
(Nas and Damian Marley)
116 18 16 39 Distant Relatives
2011 "Nah Mean"
(Nas and Damian Marley)
2011 "Set Up Shop" Set Up Shop Vol. 1
2012 "Affairs of the Heart"
"Make It Bun Dem"
(Skrillex and Damian Marley)
106 87 58[67] Non-album single
"Can't Keep Me Down"
(Cypress Hill and Rusko featuring Damian Marley)
Cypress X Rusko
2013 "Riot"
(Sean Paul featuring Damian Marley)
Full Frequency
2014 "Hard Work"[71] Set Up Shop Vol. 2
2016 "Nail Pon Cross" Stony Hill
2017 "Medication"
(featuring Stephen Marley)
"So Am I"
(Ty Dolla Sign featuring Damian Marley and Skrillex)
Beach House 3
2018 "Living It Up" Stony Hill
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Other charted songs

Year Song Peak chart positions Album
US CAN
[72]
2010 "Liquor Store Blues"
(Bruno Mars featuring Damian Marley)
105 97 Doo-Wops & Hooligans
2017 "Bam"
(JAY-Z featuring Damian Marley)
47 4:44

References

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  2. ^ Bush, Jon. Damian "Junior Gong" Marley biography. Rovi via MTV.com. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
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  65. ^ "Ghetto Youths International presents Set Up Shop, Vol. 2 by Various Artists on Apple Music".
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  67. ^ "Tulisa scores fastest selling debut smash hit of 2012 with Young". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
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External links

As We Enter

"As We Enter" is the first single from Nas and Damian Marley's collaboration album, Distant Relatives. The track is produced by Damian Marley. There are no full verses in the song, but rather Nas and Damian Marley rap in call-and-response fashion. The track contains samples of Mulatu Astatke's song "Yegelle Tezeta".

Cindy Breakspeare

Cynthia Jean Cameron Breakspeare (born October 24, 1954) — known as Cindy Breakspeare — is a Canadian-Jamaican jazz singer, musician and former model. Breakspeare was crowned Miss World 1976. Breakspeare is the mother of reggae musician Damian Marley, through her relationship with Bob Marley, who remained married to Rita Marley until his death. Bob Marley is said to have written the song "Is This Love" about her.

Distant Relatives

Distant Relatives is a collaborative studio album by American rapper Nas and Jamaican reggae artist Damian Marley, released May 18, 2010, on Universal Republic and Def Jam Recordings. Production for the album took place between 2008 and 2010 and was handled primarily by Damian Marley and Stephen Marley. Fusing musical elements of hip hop and reggae, Distant Relatives features lyrical themes concerning ancestry, poverty, and the plight of Africa. It features appearances from K’naan, Stephen Marley, Dennis Brown, Junior Reid, Joss Stone and Lil Wayne.

The album debuted at number five on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 57,000 copies in its first week. Upon its release, Distant Relatives received positive reviews from most music critics.

Full Frequency

Full Frequency is the sixth studio album by Jamaican dancehall recording artist Sean Paul, released through Atlantic Records. The album was originally planned for release on 4 November 2013, but was later pushed back to a release date of 18 February 2014.Boasting a blend of dancehall, hip hop and pop styles, the album features guest appearances from Damian Marley, Iggy Azalea, Nyla Of Brick & Lace, Konshens, Nicki Minaj, 2 Chainz, Juicy J and writing from MNDR.The album debuted at number one on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart and was nominated at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards for Best Reggae Album.

Halfway Tree

Halfway Tree is the second album by Jamaican reggae artist Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley. The name "Halfway Tree" comes from his mother, Cindy Breakspeare, being from the rich part of town, and his father, Bob Marley, coming from the poor part of town, thus him being "a tree halfway in between the 'rich' world and 'poor' world." Additionally, Halfway Tree is a well-known landmark that marks the cultural center of Half-Way-Tree, the clock tower that stands where the historical eponymous cotton tree once stood is featured prominently behind Marley on the cover of the album. The album was released on September 11, 2001 and received the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. It was co-produced by Damian Marley and his brother Stephen Marley. There is a hidden track on the end of "Stand a Chance" at – 5:08. It is called "And You Be Loved".

Jr Blender

Philip Meckseper, known professionally as Jr Blender (sometimes stylised as Jr. Blender or Junior Blender), is a German record producer and songwriter from Hamburg.He is notable for his collaborations with American dance music group Major Lazer. His credits include the singles Lean On (with DJ Snake and MØ), Cold Water (with Justin Bieber and MØ), Run Up (with Nicki Minaj and PartyNextDoor), Light It Up (with Nyla and Fuse ODG) and All My Love (with Ariana Grande and Machel Montano).Meckseper started his career as a member of the German sound clash group Supersonic. He came to the attention of Diplo during this time, thanks to remixes of tracks by Rihanna and Bruno Mars.In addition to his pop music credentials, Meckseper has a history of collaborating with reggae and dancehall artists; acting either as a writer or producer, or both. To date, his reggae and dancehall credits include songs by Damian Marley, Sean Paul, Protoje, Chronixx, Gyptian, Lutan Fyah, Romain Virgo, Stylo G, Burro Banton, Exco Levi, Christopher Martin, Jah Vinci, Perfect Giddimani, Tony Rebel, Beenie Man and Luciano.

Liquor Store Blues

"Liquor Store Blues" is a song by American singer-songwriter Bruno Mars for his debut studio album Doo-Wops & Hooligans (2010), featuring vocals by Jamaican artist Damian Marley. It was released as the first promotional single from the record, on September 21, 2010 by Elektra Records in the United States; while in the rest of the world it was liberated by Warner Entertainment Group (WEG). "Liquor Store Blues" is a reggae track with dub influences written by Mars, Phillip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Dwayne Chin-Quee, Mitchum Chin Damian Marley and Thomas Pentz, known professionally as Diplo. It was produced by the former three, under their alias, The Smeezingtons and Dwayne "Supa Dups" Chin-Quee. Musically, "Liquor Store Blues" has been described as borrowing "heavily from roots reggae" and from dub sounds, while lyrically it addresses a way of avoiding "foreshadowing" problems by drinking with hope that afterwards everything will be fine.

Upon its release, "Liquor Store Blues" received generally positive reviews from music critics, who praised its reggae style and Damian Marley's appearance on the track, as well as, establishing comparisons to Mars' cocaine bust in Vegas as the song arrived shortly after the event aforementioned. The song peaked at number 97 on the Canadian Hot 100 and Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100, a component of the Billboard Hot 100, by peaking at number 105. The music video, directed by Jake Summer, was released on March 8, 2011 and features Bruno Mars and Damian Marley singing together with a colorful background and "acid-trip" visual effects, during the whole video. The song was performed many times during Mars' debut world tour, The Doo-Wops & Hooligans Tour (2010-2012), as the ninth track on its set list. During the 2016 Grammy Awards, Mars had a flask, filled with a drink, to "get some winners drunk". The bottle is engraved with the lyrics, "One shot for my pain, one drag for my sorrow" from the song.

Make It Bun Dem

"Make It Bun Dem" is a song by Skrillex and Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley. The single was released on May 1, 2012.

Mr. Marley

Mr. Marley is the first album by Jamaican reggae artist Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley. The album was released on September 9, 1996. The cover of the album depicts Damian's father, Bob Marley, holding him when he was a child.

Now That You Got It

"Now That You Got It" is a song by American singer and songwriter Gwen Stefani from her second solo studio album, The Sweet Escape (2006). Stefani co-wrote the song with its producers Sean Garrett and Swizz Beatz. "Now That You Got It" is a reggae song featuring hip hop beats, staccato piano sample and military snare drums. Lyrically, the song places Gwen asking her lover to give all that she wants. A remix featuring Damian Marley was produced for the song's release as the album's fourth single on August 27, 2007 by Interscope Records.

The original solo version received mixed reviews from music critics, with some praising its catchiness, while others calling it repetitive. However, the remix version was more praised, being called "a laid back, summery tune". Commercially, the single experienced minor success, reaching the top-forty in six countries, while failing to gain impact in the United States and the United Kingdom. The song's music video was directed by The Saline Project and was shot in Puerto Rico and Jamaica, featuring Stefani and the Harajuku Girls. The song was performed during The Sweet Escape Tour (2007).

Road to Zion

"Road to Zion" was the 2nd US single to be taken from Damian Marley's Welcome to Jamrock, while "The Master Has Come Back" was released in Europe.

It contains a sample from "Russian Lullaby" by Ella Fitzgerald.

The song also inspired Nas and Damian Marley to record an EP together, which later turned into the full-length album Distant Relatives released in 2010.

Romantic Rhythms Music Festival

Romantic Rhythms Music Festival is a music festival that is set to take place in Antigua and Barbuda every year during the slow tourism season of May/June. The inaugural festival took place from the 13 to 16 June 2008. Headliners then included Keyshia Cole, Shaggy, Lionel Richie, Kenny Rogers, Musiq Soulchild, Damian Marley, Destra Garcia, Brian McKnight and Maxi Priest. The first festival took place at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds built for 2007 Cricket World Cup.

Smoke n Mirrors

Smoke N Mirrors is the debut solo album of B-Real, lead rapper of Cypress Hill, released on February 24, 2009 B-Real said that Fredwreck and will.i.am may be producing for this album, and that Cypress Hill's next release was expected to be out sometime in Summer of 2008. Smoke N Mirrors was released on B-Real's record label, "Audio Hustlaz". It features guest appearances from Snoop Dogg, Damian Marley, Sen Dog, Soopafly and more.

So Am I (Ty Dolla Sign song)

"So Am I" is a song by American singer Ty Dolla Sign. It was released through Atlantic Records and WEA International on September 1, 2017, as the second single from his second studio album, Beach House 3 (2017). The song features Jamaican reggae artist Damian Marley and American electronic dance music producer Skrillex, the latter of whom is sole producer of the song.

Stony Hill (album)

Stony Hill is a album by Jamaican reggae artist Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley. The album was released on July 21, 2017 and went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.

SuperHeavy

SuperHeavy were a one-off supergroup project consisting of Mick Jagger, Joss Stone, Dave Stewart, A. R. Rahman, and Damian Marley. Stone and Stewart have collaborated in the past with Jagger. Jagger said of the band, "We wanted a convergence of different musical styles... We were always overlapping styles, but they were nevertheless separate". Jagger wanted SuperHeavy to showcase different musical styles, with music ranging from reggae to ballads to Indian music.

The Master Has Come Back

"The Master Has Come Back" was the second international single from Damian Marley's Welcome to Jamrock album, while "Road to Zion" was released in the U.S..

In 1976, Bunny Wailer released his solo album Blackheart Man featuring a song called "Bide Up". It is no coincidence that the chorus ("The master has come back"), lyrics ("for the dark clouds to bring rain, then comes the sun to shine again"), and the general sense of the song reappear on Damian's version. Wailer being one of the two last living members of the original Bob Marley and the Wailers, his closeness with the Marley family is evident.

The single was played on radio and has charted in the UK at #74, but there is no video for it.

Welcome to Jamrock

Welcome to Jamrock is a Grammy-winning reggae album by Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley. The album was released on September 12, 2005 in the United Kingdom and September 13, 2005 in the United States.

Marley won two 2006 Grammy Awards for the album, Best Reggae Album and Best Urban/Alternative Performance (for the track "Welcome to Jamrock"). Guests on the album include Stephen Marley, Black Thought, Bobby Brown and Nas. The executive producers of the album were Stephen Marley and Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley.

Welcome to Jamrock (song)

"Welcome to Jamrock" is a song by Jamaican reggae artist Damian Marley. It was released in March 2005 as the lead single from his album of the same name. The song was listed at number 270 on Pitchfork Media's "Top 500 songs of the 2000s". The song is featured in FIFA 06, Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition Remix and The Sims 2: Bon Voyage where it is recorded in the game's fictional Simlish language.

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