Damian "Junior Gong" Marley Biography
Review The Artist (20)
The bustling Halfway Tree area of Kingston, Jamaica is the geographic intersection of the city's uptown and downtown areas, the meeting ground of Kingston's privileged and it's poor. Damian Marley, the son of Reggae icon Bob Marley and Jamaica's 1977 Miss World Cindy Breakspeare is the offspring of a union between two distinctive and disparate worlds. Damian calls his new album "HALFWAY TREE" because "my father is from the country and the ghetto and my mother is from uptown so I come like a half way tree, like a bridge because I can relate to both sides. "HALFWAY TREE" is the first release from the recently signed distribution deal between Motown Records and Ghetto Youths International.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica on July 21, 1978, Damian Robert Nesta Marley a.k.a. "Junior Gong", Bob's youngest son, began performing as a child as the vocalist for a group called The Shepherds. Comprised of other well-known Reggae artists children including Shiah Coore (son of Third World guitarist Cat Coore) and Yashema Beth McGregor, the daughter of Freddie McGregor and Judy Mowatt, The Shepherds performed at several shows in Jamaica including the Reggae Sunsplash music festival in 1992.
After The Shepherds' demise, Damian turned his vocal talents to deejaying (the Jamaican equivalent of rapping). In 1993 Damian's debut single "Deejay Degree" was released on Tuff Gong Records (the label founded by Bob Marley) and the following year he released "Sexy Girls On My Mind" for the Main Street label.
Damian's next release 1995's "School Controversy" was featured on the Epic\Sony Wonder compilation, "POSITIVELY REGGAE" with all sales proceeds going to Jamaica's Leaf of Life Foundation, an organization which assists children who are HIV positive. Although he was still a teenager, Damian was selected as the "POSITIVELY REGGAE" spokesperson, a role that introduced him to the international press and record buying public. The same year Damian performed at select dates on the Shabba Ranks World Unity tour and with his brother Julian performed at Jamaica's Reggae Sunfest and Sunsplash festivals.
Damian was a high school student when he began recording "MR. MARLEY" at the Marley Music 48 track-recording studio. Produced by Stephen Marley (head of the Marley Boyz production team), "MR. MARLEY" delivered a fusion of contemporary Reggae grooves and infectious dancehall rhythms alongside tough edged hip-hop beats, an ideal complement for Damian's versatile deejay-rap style. The album included several updates of Bob Marley classics as well as the single "Me Name Junior Gong" which went to the number one in Hawaii and held that position for several weeks. "When we went to Hawaii in 1997," Damian recalls, "we had three songs on the charts there: •Me Name Junior Gong,' •One Cup of Coffee' and •Now You Know,' a tune from Julian's debut album." Damian and Julian's burgeoning popularity earned them featured appearances on the 1997 travelling alternative rock festival Lollapalooza which provided invaluable exposure among a new sector of music fans.
In the five years since "MR. MARLEY's" release, Damian has matured as a performer, songwriter, recording artist and Rastafarian, his unwavering convictions reflected throughout his new album. Stephen Marley produced "HALFWAY TREE" for Marley Boyz productions; Stephen's previous production achievements are crowned by 1999's critically acclaimed "CHANT DOWN BABYLON" featuring Bob Marley in duets with a galaxy of hip hop's brightest stars and selling more than 1 million copies worldwide. Stephen's innovative approach to "HALFWAY TREE" incorporates spoken word introductions and dramatic vignettes as song interludes, creating a conceptual cohesiveness lacking from most Jamaican albums. Stephen also adapts traditional Reggae elements (forceful drum and basslines, committed social commentary) to 21st century hip hop's synthesized beats and sometimes defiant stances while utilizing the talents of Jamaican singers, deejays and musicians alongside American rappers, each underscoring Damian's impassioned delivery.
A spoken intro by Bunny Wailer (of the original Wailers), the ghetto grammar of Jamaican deejay Bounty Killer, Treach of rap group Naughty By Nature and Damain's blistering vocal beats unite in their criticism of the "Educated Fools" who continue to brainwash the youth. Stephen's sung vocals are looped around Damian's deejaying on the haunting "It Was Written", complemented by the combustible talents of Dancehall's arsonist Capleton who along with rapper Dragon assists in burning (lyrical) fire upon the oppressors. The pulse of classical Reggae's drum and bass enhances Damian's sing-jay style throughout "More Justice", a condemnation of the suppression of the Rastafarian sacred herb marijuana. Contemporary percussion patterns inspired by ancestral African drumming provides the sturdy musical foundation for "Give Dem Some Way" which fully supports Damian's hard edged, fast past verse.
A hardcore Jamaican dancehall vibe is represented in "Mi Blenda", a recipe for natural viagra (or Jamaican "strong back") which might be necessary to satisfy the two women Damian is "Stuck In Between". "Where Is The Love?" conveys a responsible approach to relationships with Ruff Ryders Eve providing a succinct rap aimed at those who engage in irresponsible sex: "I wish you cats would understand procreation instead of using it as recreation." Damian abandons those "just for one night fun things" as "an indecent something" on "Still Searching" while the rollicking "Cool and Dandy" with deejay Daddigan is a tribute to the fit and bouncy girls. "She Needs My Love" boasts Jamaica's premier drum and bass duo Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare and their La Trenggae (Latin Flavored Reggae) fusion accentuating Junior Gong's vigorous rhymes. "Stand A Chance" with Stephen on harmonica, Treach's rap and the harmonizing of Jamaican singer Yami Bolo is a modern roots Reggae gem shimmering with an inherited Rastafarian spirit. Stephen is assisted on the title track production by New York producer Swizz Beats (Kaseem Dean) who has constructed rhythms for rappers including DMX, Busta Rhymes and Jay-Z.
Bob Marley's music is also featured on "HALFWAY TREE." "Could You Be Loved" is metamorphosed into "And Be Loved" with samples from the 1979 original woven into Damian's dazzling deejaying and the impressive rap from an upcoming artist called Izzy. The Wailers 1973 masterpiece of suppressed anger "Slave Driver" becomes "Catch A Fire" with Stephen duplicating Bob's original vocals and Damian's chanting providing a bold critique on guns, drugs and other forms of mental slavery. Bob reiterated "none but ourselves can free our mind" and Damian raps "if dem could, dem would tax you for saliva, how much more mus' we die for?"
With the release of "HALFWAY TREE" on Ghetto Youths International/Motown, Damian presents his bold musical identity to the global community, updating the Marley musical legacy for the 21st century.
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u r my fev. | Reviewer: michael habesha | 2/15/13
damian junior gong marley, when i hear ur musics i feel like am w'u an am one your fan an am proud to be ur fan. i love u an i'll be waitin to attend you performin in in my country Ethiopia. jah bless u an your family lastly keep with your work.
JAH BLESS RASTAFARIANS!
Hail demian | Reviewer: Josh | 11/14/12
I hail with a loud voice, everything about u is good, man u are my number reggea maestro. I love your colaboration with nas, keep it up man. I wish to see u performing live it will the happiest day of my life.
jah guide n bless ya gong | Reviewer: gabriel | 10/10/11
am an upcoming star i want to sing positive vibes to the people and the world as a whole what should i do to achieve these damian , you are my inspiration and when i listen to you ii feel ease and very robust keep it up more greese to your elbow
aw!! da Dammy, Dammy da "GONG" | Reviewer: sphephelo limakho | 5/9/11
Jah, man Damian you inspiring me and da whole unirves with your music i,m your biggest fan in SA i guess, just need a favour from u ma brother if ever coming to south africa please!!, let me see u performig live broo! aint got money to watch show like yours please damian reply me if u can.
Jr. Gong The Best | Reviewer: michel | 7/12/10
Damian, you are doing a good job, you are the most outstanding artists of the Jamaican. Your lyrics stlyes and your moves are one in the island. Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley you are the best, you're my artist for the year, congrat on your new album with Nas Distant Relatives. Bless. Kingston Love
YEAH'MAN! | Reviewer: KUBLAY | 3/24/10
much love to yall marley family...your dad bob is the instrument of jah to spread the positive vibe of reggae music man....hoping to educate the people out it....wishing you will spread it here in the phillippines...start here in cebu city...much love and may jah bless us all!!!
Love ya Damian!!! | Reviewer: Kathleen | 1/21/10
Damian is such a beautiful person. His energy is so uplifting. Damian you have such a wonderful vibe. Maximum respect - peace and love to you and your entire family expecially sexy Steven and sexy Juju! Hope to meet you in Miami! Blessings - Kathleen
love and respect | Reviewer: MARC CARTER | 12/23/08
damian is the most vesitile singer in the marley family. he's my favourite reggae artist and i love all his albums he is blessed by his father bob i would really love to meet him."BLESSED LOVE"MARCUS( GUYANA MASSIVE) "PEACE AND LOVE TO ALL MANKIND"
damian is sexy! | Reviewer: Anonymous | 11/26/07
I hope he's single because I'm in love with him!!! His music is positive and inspirational. He's smart and sexy he's my future husband he just don't know it yet :)).... much love from Brooklyn!!
Thanks for your strong messages | Reviewer: Latrenia | 9/10/07
I think your music is great and wish that someday
you will safely make it to my home town in Jackson Mississippi and perform. I would also like for assist from your/our people to increase the knowledge of Aids/Hiv and know that out there
there is a cure just as there is a cure for some with Cancer. Being from both African and Caucasin
roots, I hope you get this message and understand.
Junior is the best! | Reviewer: Anonymous | 7/23/07
Junior is the best. Ever album is HOT!!! Not to mention that Junior is too SEXY! Junior's 3 albums have brought alot of joy and pleasure to my life and I hope he continues to make incredible music with the rest of the Marley's.
wat a gwang | Reviewer: bingi kiarie | 6/11/07
I realy enjoyed your cd coz it`s another more fire & keep tha fire burning may Jah bless bob`s family.
Damian Jr Gong | Reviewer: martin kamoshe | 5/23/07
For sure u n marleys family are da best artists in our motherland africa esp,me land kenya just keep it up n jah guidance~ n protection jah rastafari!inshallah!
chosh ranking all tha tymo
JUNIOR GONG... | Reviewer: Jaisa Blegen | 5/2/07
The whole marley family are the best artists in on jahs green earth! Your music inspires me so much, i listen to it every day! your looks are amazing too..Keep it up! jah continue to be with you
Ps. USA can not get anuff of the Marley family,&
i and i praise his majesty jah rastafari for all rasta has done.
Junior Gong | Reviewer: Nadia | 3/19/07
You are the one of the bestartistI am totaly in love with your new Cd 'welcome to jamrock" my collegues at work and my family are probably tired of hearing me play that CD but it is the best. Keep doing the great work
Stephen Marley you are a blessing to the music industry
Keep it up
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