Salaam Remi Says He Has 3 Albums Worth of Unreleased Nas Material (Video)
Earlier this year, the Fugees celebrated the 20th anniversary of The Score, an album whose sonic story was in large part shaped by producer Salaam Remi. In the years since, the Queens, New York legend has worked across the musical spectrum, helping to steer successful trajectories for artists including Amy Winehouse, Alicia Keys, Miguel, Jazmine Sullivan, and others. But he has also remained close to his Hip-Hop pocket, recently putting forth Westside Highway Story under the name No Panty, alongside Joell Ortiz, Nitty Scott, and Bodega Bamz.
But for many Heads, some of his most celebrated work is that with Nas, for whom Remi produced songs like God’s Son‘s “Made You Look,” “I Can,” and “Get Down” in addition to Life Is Good‘s “Nasty” and “The Don.” Earlier today (November 7), Remi visited The Breakfast Club and chatted with his hosts about not only what it’s like working with Nas, but also about the plethora of vaulted material he says the two have in the chamber. At the 14:46 mark, DJ Envy asks Remi about how he initially met Nas, which he says resulted due to the fact that he and Akinyele attended the same junior-high school. “When I would see Akinyele, he’d be like ‘yo, me and Nas tryin’ to get on.’ So from the time ‘[Live at the] BBQ’ came out, I was always around him, but we never really connected, really. But in 2001, I was out in L.A. working on some stuff and I ran into him at the studio. We exchanged two-way numbers…and I ended up sending him the track that would become ‘What Goes Around,’” he recounts. After that, he says, the two were back in New York City and that’s when the two realized how much they had in common and how many mutual friends they shared. After sharing that “Made You Look” was “made pretty much to squash the drama” between Nas and Jay Z, and that “I Can” was made because “oh, radio’s not playin’ us no more? OK, we’re gonna make a record [for the kids],” Remi is asked to comment on who he thinks won their notorious beef. “We’re clear. Queens all day,” again pledging his allegiance to his longtime friend and fellow Queens native.
Shortly thereafter, near the 21:00 mark, the conversation shifts from what happened in the past to what could happen in the future, namely the existence of plenty unreleased Nas material produced by Remi. Referencing a 2014 interview with Vibe in which Remi shared his being in possession of 2 or 3 albums worth of Esco heat, Remi tells the Breakfast Club he has “at least that” and that the material is still vaulted today, and says that it’s all up to Nas when, if ever, the records will drop. That’s in part, he says, because of Nas’s ingenuity in his approach to content. “Nas writes like ‘Pac. They write truths, so it doesn’t really get dated…at the end of the day, he writes stuff when he’s in the zone and when we’re in the zone, he’ll write 50 songs, 60 songs. It just depends on when he feels like there’s a body of work,” he explains, adding ” a lot of Life Is Good are ideas that started two, three albums prior.”
Other topics discussed in the nearly 45-minute long interview are Remi’s work with Winehouse, his thoughts on the social-media beefs prevalent in today’s Rap culture, the lack of proper venues and outlets for New York City to showcase its Black musicians, his sitting on Busta Rhymes’ still-unreleased Dungeons & Dragons album, and much more.
Remi recently announced his “Do It for the Culture” initiative, which aims to become a music platform that showcases, according to AllHipHop, “new artists from all genres straight off of the streets, or through valuable, trusted co-signs” who he has worked and is working with. As part of the goal, Remi says he will be releasing playlists over the course of several months, and the first such compilation is available on his Soundcloud.