Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley

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About Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley

The youngest son of Bob Marley, reggae singer Damian Marley brings an unmistakable gravitas to every project he touches. Born in 1978 in Kingston, Jamaica, Damian was just two years old when his father died. But music was in his blood: He joined his first band, The Shepherds, at the age of 13, with the children of a few other reggae stars, and the band earned a spot on the stage of the Jamaican festival Reggae Sunsplash in 1992. He went on to support his brother Ziggy on tour, and his first solo release, 1996’s Mr. Marley, situated itself in the then-unusual nexus of dancehall and hip-hop. It’s a deep well he’s returned to repeatedly ever since, first on 2001’s excellent, Grammy-winning Halfway Tree and then, with spectacular results, on 2005’s Welcome to Jamrock. The singer is an aficionado of rap, R&B, dancehall, and classic reggae, and he ably mixed them in a satisfyingly gritty, genuine way: Welcome to Jamrock’s urgent, driving title track became a hot commodity on mixtapes before the album’s release, propelling it to the Billboard charts and ultimately two Grammy Award wins. The magic continued on 2010’s Distant Relatives, an exhilarating collaboration album with Nas that bursts with African samples and dizzying verbal exchanges on songs like “As We Enter.” Marley has kept up a steady stream of collaborations in the years since, while finding time to release another solo album—the fierce, genre-hopping Stony Hill—in 2017.

Kingston, Jamaica
July 21, 1978
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