It's not uncommon in hip-hop for two worlds to collide [see: Jay-Z and R. Kelly's 'Best of Both Worlds' album and tour, and Timbaland's 'Shock Value' projects], so few were surprised to hear that Nas and Damian Marley were teaming up for a collaborative album.

Last summer the pair -- who'd previously worked together on Marley's 2005 album 'Welcome to Jamrock' -- tested the waters and shared a set on the annual Rock the Bells traveling festival/tour. With RTB being familiar territory for Nas, fans got a chance to hear what this mash-up would sound like live. However, whether they enjoyed it or not, Nas and Marley had already begun writing and recording the album.

"Once we got started we couldn't stop. It started as an EP and we just said let's make it an album," Nas told The BoomBox.

Then came the title, 'Distant Relatives,' meant to signify the bond Nas and Marley believe we all share. "Me being American born, him Jamaican, our distant relatives are from Africa, along with everybody's. Everyone's homeland, the origin, where man started, as far as we know, is Africa," Nas explained. The rapper went on to note that the album's title also speaks to society's need to point out dissimilarities. "People point out differences and don't pay attention to our similarities as human beings."

Marley added that one of the greatest experiences of working on the album was "getting to know someone, and becoming friends with someone who you are a fan of."

To hear more about the pair's upcoming album, check out the video interview after the jump. 'Distant Relatives' hits stores and online retailers on May 18 -- the same day you can come back here for Part 2 of the interview.