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Damian Marley was only two when his father died, but the youngest of the Marley sons must have learned something. At the age of 13, he formed his first band, the Shepherds, which also included the son of Third World's Cat Coore and the daughter of Freddie McGregor; the group even opened up the 1992 Reggae Sunsplash festival. By 1994, Damian was working on his own solo project, and with the help of his father's label, Tuff Gong, he recorded Mr. Marley. Also lending a familial air to the sessions was the presence of Stephen Marley, who produced and co-wrote several songs for the LP. Halfway Tree from 2001 earned a Grammy nomination, but the public generally overlooked the ambitious album. Not so for the reggae-meets-hip-hop single "Welcome to Jamrock," which became an urban phenomenon soon after its summer 2005 release. Street-level mixtapes began featuring it, urban radio couldn't get enough of it, and remixes -- both legal and not so legal -- began appearing at a fast pace. The well-rounded album Welcome to Jamrock delivered on the promise of the single that same year, reaching the Top Ten.
Damian Robert Nesta "Jr. Gong" Marley (born 21 July 1978), is a Jamaican reggae artist. Damian is the youngest son of reggae legend Bob Marley. Damian was only 2 years old when his father, Bob Marley, 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.http://www.feelnumb.com/2011/07/26/bob-marley-and-all-his-children-baby-mommas/
ContentsCareer1.1 Early releases (1992-04)1.2 Welcome to Jamrock (2005–07)1.3 Distant Relatives (2009–10)1.4 SuperHeavy (2011–present)
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. The band fell apart in the early 1990s and Damian started his solo career.
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. 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." 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.
Welcome to Jamrock (2005–07)
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 sold 86,000 copies in its first week of release, and was eventually certified gold after selling 500,000 copies in the United States. 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 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, centred around poverty, politics and crime in Jamaica. While the single was controversial at home over its perceived negative viewpoint of the island, 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." The single reached No. 13 on the UK Singles Chart and No. 55 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was also No. 100 on the Top 100 Songs of the Decade listing by Rolling Stone.
Distant Relatives (2009–10)
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."
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. 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.
The album debuted at number five on the US Billboard 200 chart with first-week sales of 57,000 copies. It serves as Nas's tenth top-ten album and Marley's second top-ten album in the United States. The album also entered at number four on Billboard 's Digital Albums, and at number one on its R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, Rap Albums, and Reggae Albums charts. Internationally, Distant Relatives attained some chart success. It entered at number 33 on the European Top 100 Albums chart. In the United Kingdom, it debuted at number 30 on the UK Albums Chart and at number four on the R&B Albums Chart. In Canada, the album entered at number 9 on the Top 100 Albums chart. In Germany, it debuted at number 38 on the Media Control Charts.
The first single, "As We Enter", was released on iTunes on 23 February 2010. 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. 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.
The existence of SuperHeavy was secret until May 2011. Mick Jagger, English musician and the lead vocalist of rock band The Rolling Stones, announced its formation on 20 May 2011. SuperHeavy was Dave Stewart's idea. 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. Stewart and Jagger had mutual liking for Indian orchestrations; thus, A. R. Rahman was added to the supergroup. The name of the band is said to be inspired by Muhammad Ali. 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. 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.
"Miracle Worker" was released on iTunes as the album's lead single on 7 July 2011. It is a reggae song performed by Marley, Stone and Jagger. The single entered at number 195 on the UK Singles Chart. 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. "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. 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. "Beautiful People" reached number sixty-four on the Dutch Single Top 100 chart.
Damian also worked with electronic artist Skrillex on a song called "Make It Bun Dem" in 2012. This song also appears in the 2012 game Far Cry 3.Bush, Jon. Damian "Junior Gong" Marley biography. Rovi via MTV.com. Retrieved 3 March 2011. Moskowitz, David Vlado. Caribbean popular music: an encyclopedia of reggae. 2006. pg 188–189. Retrieved 11 May 2011 Mills, Claude. Damian Marley: Conveying solid, conscious lyrics. Jamaica Gleaner. 2 January 2003. Retrieved 2 March 2011. "Damian Jr. Gong Marley the Afiwi Interview". Afiwi.com. 10 February 2002. Retrieved 13 July 2011. Boyne, Ian. 'WELCOME TO JAMROCK' – A phenomenon. Jamaica Gleaner. 2 October 2005. Retrieved 2 March 2011. Evans, Teino. Grammy welcomes Jamrock – Jr. Gong speaks about his double victory. Jamaica Star. 10 February 2006. Retrieved 2 March 2011. Henry, Krista. Old beats, new hits. Jamaica Star. 15 December 2006. Cooke, Mel. 'Welcome to Jamrock': A celebration of culture and talent. Jamaica Star. 12 September 2005. Retrieved 2 March 2011. Cite error: The named reference British_Hit_Singles_.26_Albums was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Billboard Singles Chart (Welcome to Jamrock-Damian Marley). AllMusic. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 'Jamrock' stands alone. Jamaica Gleaner. 15 December 2009. Retrieved 2 March 2011. Reid, Shaheem (9 February 2009). "Nas Confirms Kelis' Pregnancy, Talks New Album". MTV News. Retrieved 8 April 2009. Brunstad, Svein. Nas and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley are Distant Relatives (Interview). URB. 19 April 2010. Retrieved 3 March 2011. Lemmon, Kyle. "Damian Marley, Nas: Distant Relatives", Prefix, 12 May 2009. Retrieved 11 May 2011 Caulfield, Keith. 'Glee' Stops the Show at No. 1, Stones Come in Second On Billboard 200. Billboard. Retrieved on 26 May 2010. Digital Albums – Week of June 05, 2010. Billboard. Retrieved on 27 May 2010. R&B/Hip-Hop Albums – Week of June 05, 2010. Billboard. Retrieved on 27 May 2010. Rap Albums – Week of June 05, 2010. Billboard. Retrieved on 27 May 2010. Reggae Albums – Week of June 05, 2010. Billboard. Retrieved on 27 May 2010. "Nas & Damian Marley – Distant Relatives". Ultratop. Retrieved 27 May 2010. Album Performance: Distant Relatives. acharts. Retrieved on 27 May 2010. European Albums – Week of June 05, 2010. Billboard. Retrieved on 27 May 2010. The Official UK Top 40 Albums Chart – 23 May 2010. BBC Online. Retrieved on 27 May 2010. UK Top 40 RnB Albums – 23 May 2010. BBC Online. Retrieved on 27 May 2010. http://www.billboard.com/charts/2010-06-05/canadian-albums Album Top 50 KW 20 – Gültig ab 28.05.2010. MTV. Retrieved on 28 May 2010. Single Cover: Nas & Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley – ‘As We Enter’. Rap-Up. The Official UK Top 40 Singles Chart – 23 May 2010. BBC Online. Retrieved on 27 May 2010. The Source, Nas and Damian Marley Distant Relatives Coming in 2010, TheSource.com, 14 December 2009. Accessed 6 January 2010. Mick Jagger Has Formed A Secret Supergroup!, perezhilton.com, 24 May 2011, retrieved 10 August 2011 "Mick Jagger Forms Supergroup with Dave Stewart, Joss Stone and Damian Marley". Rolling Stone. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 11 August 2011. "Mick Jagger forms new band Super Heavy", Guardian, 23 May 2011, retrieved 10 August 2011 "Rahman jams with Mick for Super Heavy Band", IBN (CNN-IBN), 24 May 2011, retrieved 10 August 2011 "SuperHeavy has a strong Indian influence'". MiD DAY. 25 September 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2011. Todd, Ben (6 July 2011), "So who's the star of your new band SuperHeavy, Sir Mick?", Daily Mail, retrieved 8 July 2011 Baltin, Steve (1 July 2011). "Mick Jagger and SuperHeavy Preview Album, Ponder Tour in Los Angeles". Spinner.com. Retrieved 3 July 2011. "Miracle Worker – Single by SuperHeavy". iTunes Store UK. Apple Inc. Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2011. Winistorfer, Andrew (8 July 2011). "Super Heavy: "Miracle Worker"". Prefix Magazine. Retrieved 10 August 2011. Wilkening, Matthew (7 July 2011). "SuperHeavy, 'Miracle Worker' – Song Review". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 10 August 2011. "CHART: CLUK Update 27.08.2011 (wk33)". The Zobbel Website. Retrieved 10 September 2011. "SuperHeavy – Miracle Worker". YouTube. 12 August 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2011. Salvadore, Sarah (22 July 2011). "Rahman's new approach". The Times of India. Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. Retrieved 9 August 2011. "Rolling Stone Mick Jagger sings in Sanskrit". BBC News Online. 10 August 2011. Retrieved 11 August 2011. "A R Rahmans Satyameva Jayathe releases!". The Times of India. Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. 9 August 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2011. "SuperHeavy – Beautiful People" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 September 2011. "Listen: Skrillex & Damian Marley "Make It Bun Them"". Complex Music. 17 April 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
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."
Distant Relatives Fused hip hop and reggae musical elements, Marley and Nas also incorporated samples from African music into the album. The album's lyrical content heavily revolves around themes concerning Africa, from ancestry and poverty, with social commentary of the United States and Africa. The track "Count Your Blessings" reflects on the plight of Africa.Henry, Krista. Music a means, a message. Jamaica Gleaner. 22 December 2006. Retrieved 3 March 2011. "Nas Announces Damian Marley Album". MTV One. 8 April 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2009. Vozick-Levinson, Simon (22 April 2009). "Nas and Damian Marley on their 'Distant Relatives' collaboration". Entertainment Weekly. Time. Retrieved 29 April 2009. Thiessen, Brock (8 April 2009). "Nas and Damian Marley Become Distant Relatives, Join Rock the Bells Tour". Exclaim!. Retrieved 29 April 2009. Reid, Shaheem (7 April 2009). "Nas And Damian Marley Team Up For Rock The Bells Tour, Joint Album". MTV News. Retrieved 29 April 2009. "Spring Music Preview: June". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. 20 March 2009. Retrieved 8 April 2009.
Born as Damian Robert Nesta Marley, he 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. He has 12 siblings total; 10 on his father's side and 2 on his mother's side.
Marley has been in the music business since he was a child. He is a Rastafarian and his music reflects both his beliefs and the Rastafari guiding principles of one love, one planet, and freedom for all nations. He has a son, Elijah, who was born on 19 August 2009. While he travels and tours the better part of the year, his home base is split between Kingston, Jamaica and Miami, Florida. He has a younger half brother Christian and a half sister Leah from his mother Cindy.White, Timothy. Catch a Fire: the Life of Bob Marley. pg 402. Retrieved 11 May 2011 Salon. 28 July 2008. He has a son Elijah who was born on 19 August 2009. Retrieved 11 May 2011.