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VIDEOS: The Formula

Salaam Remi On Sampling For Nas and Amy Winehouse

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Unlike most super producers, Salaam Remi doesn't have an identifiable sound he loans out to various acts. He's better known for mining a sound from each act he works with that, in turn, becomes their signature sound.
NPR

Unlike most super producers, Salaam Remi doesn't have an identifiable sound he loans out to various acts. He's better known for mining a sound from each act he works with that, in turn, becomes their signature sound.

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Sonic reinvention is Salaam Remi's secret weapon. He's given artists their signature sound and remixed careers. He made the Fugees go ooh-la-la and turned Ini Kamoze into a hotstepper. When it comes to pulling magic out of songwriters, he's a master collaborator and his sample-based productions for two icons, Nas and Amy Winehouse, are sound proof.

The Formula is a five-episode series on the art of sampling in which acclaimed hip-hop producers show us how they find inspiration in classics, hidden gems, found sounds and other raw musical materials to create new hits. For each video in the series, NPR Music has also asked a writer we love to focus on an element of the video we've made and spin it off in a new direction — to sample it.

Read Danyel Smith's essay about the inherent tensions of musical collaborations, and how producers and songwriters like Remi and Babyface manage to make the most out of working with artists ready to make the leap, here. And you can find all the latest episodes and essays at npr.org/theformula.

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Credits

Host: Rodney Carmichael; Producers: Nick Michael, CJ Riculan; Animator: CJ Riculan; Assistant Producer: Ben Naddaff-Hafrey; Director of Photography: Colin Marshall; Editors: Tsering Bista, Maia Stern; Videographers: Colin Marshall, Nickolai Hammar; Audio Recording Engineer: Chris DeAngelis; Audio Mix Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Production Assistant: Shanti Hands; Supervising Producer: Nick Michael; Senior Producer: Abby O'Neill; Consulting Editor: Jacob Ganz; Managing Editor: Becky Lettenberger; Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann, Keith Jenkins, Lauren Onkey

Music

  • "Tears Dry on Their Own," Amy Winehouse, Back to Black (2006)
  • "Made You Look," Nas, God's Son (2002)
  • "In My Bed," Amy Winehouse, Frank (2003)
  • "Apache," Incredible Bongo Band, Bongo Rock (1973)
  • "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, United (1967)
  • "Rose Water," DJ Face [series theme track]
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