In the wake of her untimely death yesterday, Amy Winehouse left behind her a mark on Hip Hop that not only contributed to the culture, but made her part of it. The beehive-sporting soulstress not only got props from Jay-Z and Ghostface Killah on remixes to her vintage-sounding tracks, but she had a deep love for Hip Hop that shone through in work with producers Salaaam Remi and Mark Ronson. Not only that, but her schoolgirl crush on Nas proved that she was a B-girl at heart.
With only two albums to her name (2003’s Frank and 2006’s Back to Black), Winehouse made a lot of noise for a pint-sized girl from London, England. Here, HipHopDX takes a look at some of her best Hip Hop moments.
Amy Winehouse Performs “Love Is A Losing Game” With Mos Def
Getting a co-sign from Mos Def doesn’t happen too often, which is why his stamp of approval helped put Amy in Hip Hop’s graces. In June 2007, the Black Star MC joined Ms. Winehouse during a taping of MTV’s 45th at Night, adding a verse to a grooved out section of the somber jam. No studio recording came to light in the wake of the performance, but at least the cameras were rolling.
Amy Winehouse Pays Respect To Nas On “In My Bed” & “Me & Mr. Jones”
Winehouse didn’t hold back when it came to pledging allegiance to Nasir Jones. On her debut album Frank, she teamed with producer Salaam Remi for the cut “In My Bed,” which touted a soft-edged interpolation of the beat for Nas’ “Made You Look.” Her Escobar stannery didn’t stop there, with Winehouse taking an opportunity to pay respects to the Queensbridge MC on “Me & Mr. Jones.” With its emblematic opening line “What kind of fuckery is this?” Amy let loose an excoriation of some chump who broke a promise to take her to a Slick Rick gig. Now, her plus one to a Nas show was in danger, too, and she wasn't having it. She eventually got her wish to meet Nasty Nas in real life - only this time, no guest list required.
Amy Winehouse Taps Ghostface Killah For “You Know I’m No Good” Remix
Ghostface Killah can make anything Hip Hop, but the hard-edged flair of “You Know I’m No Good” didn’t need a rap verse to take it there. But with its chunky drums, rusty horns and a pool hall vibe, the remixed cut helped give Winehouse the credibility that she needed to carve a space in Hip Hop. Her smoky vocals counter Ghost’s smirk-worthy verses, which include a shout-out to Kelly Clarkson and Cheech and Chong.
Amy Winehouse Works With Producers Salaam Remi & Mark Ronson
One of her earliest co-signs from the Hip Hop community came from producers Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson. Remi, who’s worked with everyone from The Fugees and Nas to Jazmine Sullivan and Nelly Furtado, helped to create a jazzy aesthetic for many of Frank’s stand-out tracks, veering her into Hip Hop territory by supplying her with boom bap drums and sampled loops. Ronson, who has produced for Saigon, Wale, Ghostface Killah and plenty more, split production duties with Remi on Back to Black, a dip into Motown soul with some tough girl attitude.
Amy Winehouse Enlists Jay-Z & Pharoahe Monch For “Rehab” Remixes
When Jay-Z hops on your track, ears perk up. That’s the case for one of two officially sanctioned remixes to “Rehab,” the other of which features Pharoahe Monch. Released in April 2007, Hov’s rendition of "Rehab" gave Winehouse a lifelong membership to Hip Hop, while Monch’s remix of "Rehab" showed just how much space there was in her tracks to insert dizzying verses. "I wouldn't know what it is, apart from being different," Amy told MTV News of rappers’ taking a shine to her music. "Obviously I didn't set out to do that, but I have pride in being different. And the Jay-Z remix is wicked. I'm flattered that he liked [the song] enough to do something with it."