Introducing Joeprah. That’s Fat Joe’s new nickname thanks to his brand new REVOLT series “The Fat Joe Show.” On the show, the recording artist turned media personality chops it up with some of your favs for dope conversation and good laughs. Get into it.
While rappers and singers often get all of the shine for their work, the true champion behind the music is the producer. This week on “The Fat Joe Show,” Grammy-nominated hitmaker Salaam Remi stopped by to talk his career in the music industry.
Pulling up for the virtual chat with Joey Crack, Remi shared how he’s worked with Nas and produced the famous “Made You Look” beat as well as “Fu-Gee-La” for the Fugees — a beat that was actually meant for Joe initially. The producer also detailed what it was like to work with the talented Lauryn Hill and got very detailed when he spoke of the late Amy Winehouse.
Remi shares that his first time meeting Winehouse, he questioned her ability based on her demo tapes, claiming he wasn’t sure the sound was real. However, she sang to him in person and from that moment forward, the two would work together until her final days. “She made me a better producer and I just gave her everything I knew,” Remi says. “Everything we knew as jazz and hip hop, she was just eating it up.” As a producer, he was able to play with his old records and create much jazzier sounds for her. Remi even admits that she also sang over Nas’ “Made You Look” beat with no issue on her hit song “In My Bed.” He continued, “It was just super jazz, England style from her and super hip hop for me, and what we put together became something special.”
He went on to tell how for her second album, he moved his entire studio into his living room per her request, where he made his portion of the Back to Black album. “It was kind of like her detox, getting away from London, writing songs about her friends and everybody there and that was the start of it,” Remi reveals.
Detailing their relationship, he says she was “lil’ sis” and would watch out for her when things got out of hand. But, even still, she never allowed him to see her crossing the line. “For me, I was her safe haven. She wouldn’t even drink when she was around me… her whole energy shifted around me,” Remi recalls. He adds that Winehouse looked forward to working with him and would tell him all the time. But, it wasn’t until they both ended up in St. Lucia where they were able to record one more time together. Throughout that period, he says that she’d been in love and loves hard. “She fell in love with a dude that was a drug user, cut himself, and had toxic stuff and whatever he felt, she wanted to feel,” he details.
Remi explains this led her down the path that ultimately brought about her untimely death. “Her small body couldn’t take that,” he says. At this point in her life, Winehouse stopped using drugs, according to Remi. But, the effects that remained in her body along with alcohol caused her to die of alcohol poisoning. “It messed me up because I was in London,” he expresses. “I got there on a Wednesday, and I was like alright I’ll get her together on Saturday, make sure she’s cool. She just starting drinking and I’m talking to her security. Then, I’m like, ‘Yo, I’m picking up food to go to the crib, and he was like, ‘She passed last night.’”
He paints the picture for Fat Joe, detailing how Nas also helped put into perspective the situation. “That’s like coming to Miami, and saying I’m going to come to your crib, and don’t come, and I die before you get there,” he tells. The situation in its entirety is a sore spot for Remi, as he says he doesn’t even want to hear someone say they’ve found the next Amy Winehouse because there will never be another.
Catching up to date, Remi spilled the details on his new album, Black on Purpose, and its connection to current events like COVID-19 and George Floyd’s death. Wanting people to see how angry he was, the producer toyed with the idea of releasing a video where he would lay his feelings on the line. Instead, he went to the studio to record an album. “I’m going to use my strongest voice, and my strongest voice is music,” he says.
“I decided to make Black on Purpose, an intentionally Black record that just shows how I felt. Being a big Black man, it reminded me of the times I was pulled over when I was executive vice president at Sony… but, I’m still getting pulled over driving from Dumbo into the city,” he candidly expresses. “I still thought about all the times I had to make myself small. I’m taking money to be part of a system that still will squash my neck if they had the opportunity to.” He continues to tell how those thoughts brought about the album that he wants to stand as a speech of solidarity with others affected by social injustice.
Watch the full episode above!