Damian Marley

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Damian Marley
Damian Marley 2011.jpg
Background information
Birth nameDamian Robert Nesta Marley
Born(1978-07-21) July 21, 1978 (age 35)
Kingston, Jamaica
GenresReggae, dancehall
Years active1996–present
LabelsTuff Gong, Ghetto Youth International, Republic
Associated actsKy-Mani Marley, Ziggy Marley, Stephen Marley, Julian Marley, Nas, SuperHeavy, Skrillex, Sean Paul
 
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Damian Marley
Damian Marley 2011.jpg
Background information
Birth nameDamian Robert Nesta Marley
Born(1978-07-21) July 21, 1978 (age 35)
Kingston, Jamaica
GenresReggae, dancehall
Years active1996–present
LabelsTuff Gong, Ghetto Youth International, Republic
Associated actsKy-Mani Marley, Ziggy Marley, Stephen Marley, Julian Marley, Nas, SuperHeavy, Skrillex, Sean Paul

Damian Robert Nesta "Jr. Gong" Marley (born July 21, 1978), also known as "Gong Zilla", is a Jamaican reggae artist. Damian is the youngest son of reggae legend Bob Marley.[1] Damian was two 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. Marley has been performing since the age of 13.

Music[edit]

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."[2]

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.[3] The band fell apart in the early 1990s and Damian started his solo career.[4]

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.[5] Damian’s brother, Stephen Marley, was a producer and co-author for this album.[4]

His second album, Halfway Tree was released in 2001. The cover of Halfway Tree depicts him standing under the clock at halfway tree. This is an embodiment of his parent’s different social origins with his mother from uptown and his father from the ghetto. In Kingston, Jamaica the Halfway Tree was used as a shady halfway point for farmers and vendors who would pass the tree on their route to transport their goods to the downtown market.[6] It brought him much recognition, remaining on the Billboard top reggae albums chart for 158 weeks,[7] and winning the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.[5]

His third album, Welcome to Jamrock was released in September 2005, named after 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] centered around poverty, politics and crime in Jamaica. While the single was controversial at home over its perceived negative viewpoint of the island,[9] 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."[10] The single reached #13 on the UK Singles Chart[11] and #55 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.[12] It was also #100 on the Top 100 Songs of the Decade listing by Rolling Stone.[13]

At the 2009 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. The album sold 86,000 copies in its first week of release,[9] and was eventually certified gold after selling 500,000 copies in the United States.[14] 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.

On May 17, 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.[15] They have previously collaborated on “Road to Zion”, on Marley’s Welcome to Jamrock album. The album joins two different flavors 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.[16]

In a 2011 interview on Tim Westwood, Damian revealed he had started work on a new album. His street single, released in Jamaica was titled "Just Aint The Same". He has also joined Mick Jagger's musical project SuperHeavy with Joss Stone, Dave Stewart and A.R. Rahman. Their debut single "Miracle Worker" was released on June 6, 2011, with the album scheduled for a September 2011 release.[17] Damian also worked with electronic artist Skrillex on a song called "Make It Bun Dem" in 2012.[18] This song also appears in the 2012 game Far Cry 3.

Personal life and beliefs[edit]

Born as Damien 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.[19] 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 August 19, 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.[20]

Discography[edit]

YearAlbum detailsPeak chart positionsCertifications
USUS
R&B
US
Rap
US
Reg.
FR
[21]
1996Mr. Marley
  • Released: September 9, 1996
  • Label: Ghetto Youths International
  • Format: CD
2
2001Halfway Tree
  • Released: September 11, 2001
  • Label: Universal Distribution
  • Format: CD
2
2005Welcome to Jamrock
  • Released: September 13, 2005
  • Label: Universal Distribution
  • Format: CD
7431188
2010Distant Relatives
(with Nas)
511127
2011SuperHeavy
(with SuperHeavy)
  • Released: September 16, 2011
  • Label: A&M Records
  • Format: CD
26
2013Set Up Shop Vol. 1
(with various artists)
  • Released: February 19, 2013 via iTunes
  • Label: Ghetto Youths International
  • Format: CD
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Singles[edit]

YearSongPeak chart positionsAlbum
USUS
R&B
US
Rap
FR
[21]
UK
[11]
2005"Welcome to Jamrock"55181213Welcome 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)
2007"Now That You Got It"
(Gwen Stefani featuring Damian Marley)
59The Sweet Escape
2010"As We Enter"
(Nas & Damian Marley)
116181639Distant Relatives
2011"Nah Mean"
(Nas & Damian Marley)
2011"Set Up Shop"
2012"Affairs of the Heart"
"Make It Bun Dem"
(Skrillex & Damian Marley)
1068758[22]Make It Bun Dem After Hours
"Can't Keep Me Down"
(Cypress Hill & Rusko featuring Damian Marley)
Cypress x Rusko
2013"Riot"
(Sean Paul featuring Damian Marley)
Full Frequency
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Other charted songs[edit]

YearSongPeak chart positionsAlbum
USCAN
[23]
2010"Liquor Store Blues"
(Bruno Mars featuring Damian Marley)
10597Doo-Wops & Hooligans

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.feelnumb.com/2011/07/26/bob-marley-and-all-his-children-baby-mommas/
  2. ^ Henry, Krista. Music a means, a message. Jamaica Gleaner. December 22, 2006. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
  3. ^ Bush, Jon. Damian "Junior Gong" Marley biography. Rovi via MTV.com. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
  4. ^ a b Moskowitz, David Vlado. Caribbean popular music: an encyclopedia of reggae. 2006. pg 188-189. Retrieved 2011-05-11
  5. ^ a b Mills, Claude. Damian Marley: Conveying solid, conscious lyrics. Jamaica Gleaner. January 2, 2003. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
  6. ^ Niaah, Sanjah Stanley. DanceHall: From Slave Ship to Ghetto. 2010. pg 81. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
  7. ^ Jackson,Steven. Sean Paul Billboard Reggae Artiste of the year/decade. Jamaica Observer. December 18, 2009. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
  8. ^ Henry, Krista. Old beats, new hits. Jamaica Star. December 15, 2006.
  9. ^ a b Boyne, Ian. 'WELCOME TO JAMROCK' - A phenomenon. Jamaica Gleaner. October 2, 2005. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
  10. ^ Cooke, Mel. 'Welcome to Jamrock': A celebration of culture and talent. Jamaica Star. September 12, 2005. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
  11. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 350. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  12. ^ Billboard Singles Chart (Welcome to Jamrock-Damian Marley). AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
  13. ^ 'Jamrock' stands alone. Jamaica Gleaner. December 15, 2009. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
  14. ^ Evans, Teino. Grammy welcomes Jamrock - Jr. Gong speaks about his double victory. Jamaica Star. February 10, 2006. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
  15. ^ Brunstad, Svein. Nas and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley are Distant Relatives (Interview). URB. April 19, 2010. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
  16. ^ Lemmon, Kyle. "Damian Marley, Nas: Distant Relatives", Prefix, 12 May 2009. Retrieved 2011-05-11
  17. ^ "Mick Jagger's SuperHeavy Supergroup to Drop Album in September". New single 2012 "Affairs Of The Heart" Retrieved 2011-7-23
  18. ^ "Listen: Skrillex & Damian Marley "Make It Bun Them"". Complex Music. 2012-04-17. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  19. ^ White, Timothy. Catch a Fire: the Life of Bob Marley. pg 402. Retrieved 2011-05-11
  20. ^ Salon. July 28, 2008. He has a son Elijah who was born on August 19th 2009. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
  21. ^ a b LesCharts.com Damian Marley page
  22. ^ "Tulisa scores fastest selling debut smash hit of 2012 with Young". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2012-12-16. 
  23. ^ "Canadian Hot 100: Oct 1, 2010". Billboard (magazine). Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems. October 1, 2010. Archived from the original on October 3, 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2010. 

External links[edit]