It’s OK to be slightly suspicious of Distant Relatives, the upcoming collaboration between rapper Nas and reggae scion Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley—it’s got some potential for preciousness, even if both men know how to bring the grit. Their sincerity, however, is indisputable: The goal is to celebrate the historic links between Afro-Jamaican music and American hip-hop, and if the album doesn’t do the job, they’re willing to host a seminar or two. The National Geographic Live series is putting Nas and Marley onstage with a moderator (MTV’s Sway) and several other musicians, radio personalities, and writers who can elucidate the Kingston–to–New York dynamic, including DJs Kool Herc and Red Alert; the one and only Rakim; and dub pioneers U-Roy and King Jammy. With a lineup like that, conversation is as good as any tune.
NAS AND MARLEY PERFORM AT 7 P.M. AT NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’S GROSVENOR AUDITORIUM, 1145 17TH ST. NW. $25. (202) 857-7700.