Date: May 2010

A lot of rappers talk about doing collaborative projects with other artists. But very few actually follow through with them. Nas followed through with this one, though—a fusion reggae, hip-hop, and African music that he first announced at the 2009 Grammy Awards. "We're tryin' to build schools in Africa with this one," he said of the  album, called Distant Relatives, "and trying to build empowerment." It dropped a little more than a year later and was well received commercially and critically. Nas even said the experience of jamming with Damian Marley rekindled his creative fire.