Not only do Amy and Nas share the same September 14 birthday, but according to producer Salaam Remi, they have a number of collaborations that were left on the cutting-room floor. The recently released “Like Smoke” is the first time fans got to hear them in tandem.
“Amy sang on records that we never put out with Nas,” the multiplatinum hitmaker told MTV News last month in New York’s Jungle Studios. “As far as them now getting on the same record, that was a conversation in play for the last couple of years but that just didn’t happen yet, and when I listened to that song, I was like, you know what? This makes sense, to actually make that happen as far as things that she wants to do that didn’t happen yet.”
“Like Smoke” will appear on Amy’s December 6 posthumous album, Lioness: Hidden Treasures, and features Nas dropping a pair of brand-new verses in between Winehouse’s bluesy vocal. Though Amy wasn’t around to hear the rhymes Nas dropped just a couple of weeks ago, Salaam is confident that based off her admiration for the Queensbridge rapper, she would approve.
Amy famously sang about Nas on “Me and Mr. Jones” from her breakout Back to Black album, and the two became acquainted through their mutual friend Salaam. “He just put it in perspective for me,” Remi said of Nas’ mind-set before writing his portion of “Like Smoke.”
“I never wanted you to be my man, I just need your company,” Amy starts out singing to an unknown lover. Nas on the other hand speaks directly of his fallen friend when he spits, “I be out in London, Camden, hunting for the answers/ Why did God take away the homey,” he questions.
“As far as myself, I feel like I’m repping her musically because that’s what I know of her more than anyone else,” he said. “And then as far as where [Nas is] at, he put that energy back into [the song], because she repped for him. I mean, who writes songs for people, unless you really respect them?”
What do you think of “Like Smoke”? Let us know in the comments!