DISTANT RELATIVES (San Francisco, CA) – We Back (Re-Soul Mixtape) /// UndergroundHipHopBLOG.comPosted: January 11, 2013
Distant Relatives was formed in 2003 by founding members Vocabulary Slick and Emotionall who met as young children. Following the group’s first recording sessions which were recorded in collaboration with the group’s first DJ, DJ Boogie The Mann, Emotionall was deported to Mexico. For The Passion was released independently in the Northern California Bay Area to local acclaim but no real national attention. Shortly thereafter, DJ Boogie The Mann and Distant Relatives parted ways so that DJ Boogie The Mann could pursue a rap career. Just before Emotionall was deported to Mexico, Maynee, who had been featured on For The Passion’s “Up The Ladder” and “Keep The Flow” was recruited as an official member of the group. With Maynee & Vocabulary Slick, the group toured the state of California extensively in support of their album For The Passion (2006), playing hundreds of shows in the Lake Tahoe / Reno, Santa Cruz, San Francisco and North Bay Area markets. Based on the model used by California rap group Living Legends, Distant Relatives built their fan base by selling CDs hand-to-hand during their tours, selling more than 5,000 units directly.
In the wake of DJ Boogie The Mann’s departure from the group, Distant Relatives sought a DJ to replace him. After posting a listing on craigslist.org, DJ Ricky Switch, who had moved to the San Francisco bay area from Portstewert, Ireland, answered the ad and was the group’s DJ the very next day at a gig in Mountain View, CA. This incarnation of Distant Relatives – Vocabulary Slick, Maynee and DJ Ricky Switch remained for the group’s follow-up albums, 2007’s The Ethx of Distant Relatives and 2011’s This Changes Everything. In the spring of 2007, Distant Relatives recorded an album entirely produced by Fremont, CA-based producer Ethx called The Ethx of Distant Relatives which they released for free, pressing and distributing more than 10,000 copies of the album independently. As the group started production on their second album, rapper Nas & reggae artist Damien “Jr. Gong” Marley released and promoted an album titled Distant Relatives. While they have been referred to as “Distant Relatives”, the duo is officially named Damien “Jr. Gong” Marley & Nas and no legal action has been taken by either group in defense of the groups’ names.
In March 2011, Distant Relatives released their second studio album, This Changes Everything featuring production by bay area producers Eleven.30 and Rick Vargas. The album featured guest appearances by Zumbi of Zion-I and The Grouch (rapper) & Eligh of Living Legends. Prior to the album’s release, “Celebrate” featuring The Grouch & Eligh debuted on iTunes with instrumental and edited versions. Another song from This Changes Everything, “Rusty Shack” was featured as a part of iTunes’ Indie Spotlight showcase in March, 2011. In May 2011, Thizzler.com wrote about the album, stating that “The Bay Area needs more groups like Distant Relatives that have a positive message with real skill.