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Coachella 2011: Nas and Damien Marley make a smokin' tag team

April 17, 2011 | 10:00 pm

00coachellanas Commanding a sea of clenched fists, flailing rasta flags and plumes of pine-scented smoke, Nas and Damien Marley held a captive audience tightly in their grasp by the time sound check was over. But what songs to choose?

True, sticking prized nuggets from their 2011 joint album (sorry, couldn't help it) "Distant Relatives" would've been wise from a marketing perspective. But in the early stages of a blooming pink sunset, they determined that sticking to their respective hits was the strategy to bring the house down.

Coachella 2011 in photos: The acts and scene | 360° Panoramas | The faces

Nas was first to tag in with the spin-inhibiting  Whodini sample of "Friends" at the heart of his hip-hop hit "If I Ruled the World." In the hyper idealistic vibes of Coachella culture, the 1996 classic -- sans Lauryn Hill, unfortunately -- ignited a wave of chorus chanting and doobie passing. 

With the crowd hyped, Marley, son of reggae singer Bob Marley, was quick to tag in with the preeminent keyboard line of "Exodus." The hip-swiveling audience worked nonstop as the pair traded shot for shot for most of the set. "Could You Be Loved," Marley's second, er, Marley cover was followed right up with Nas' big beat rendition of "Made You Look." 

"Damn, I can't take this," yelled one fan, decked out with an embarrassment of riches in the hemp-braided accessories department. "They got too many jams. I'm gonna self-destruct." A fan of Nas and Marley getting hit so hard with their hits that he just goes up in smoke? Sounds fitting.


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-- Nate Jackson

Photo: Nas looks out to the audience while performing with Damien Marley at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Sunday. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times