If you know who Salaam Remi is, then you tend to think of Nas and Amy Winehouse.
Remi’s masterful work gave Nas his best beats in the last 10 years. He gave Amy that time machine needed to capture the 1950’s doo-wop sound we loved from her. He also worked closely with Nelly Furtado. And with a producer catalog like his panning from hardcore rapper cuts to Dance Hall guys to competitive TV show pop singers, his flexibility truly shows with genre hopping.
Go back to 1996, Remi had cooked up his first hit with the Fugees, “Fu-Gee-La”, when he was a teenager. Then he disappeared from the mainstream. In 2002, he came back with a bang, blessing Nas with “Made You Look”, an aggressive track, continuing the fury from Stillmatic. Riddled with gunshots, the “Apache” sample hypnotizes with its continuous loop and bongos. Remi’s chopping, electric bass and scratches add a nice touch.
“Made You Look” lives on as a hard ass beat, great for freestyling to this day. The simple mix showed perfect for harsh words and a good tempo. So who thought it would make R&B breakup song with remixing it for Amy’s “In My Bed”?
Salaam Remi did.
He arranged the hell out of this song. It starts off deceiving, like it’s just the same instrumental as Nas’s. But the mastery shows deeper within. The complete woodwind section, sax and flute solos included, and Amy scatting with her unique voice and style are inspiring. “Made You Look” and a Rhodes piano ride underneath all the musical glory for a special mix not heard in many instances. This is definitely some of Remi’s best tracks, which is saying a lot.