Toppa Top 10: Salaam Remi Breaks Down Ten of His Classic Records

Intro 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 BONUS BEATS
August 28, 2012

Zhigge, “Toss It Up” (1992)

That was my first production deal. Those records were definitively East Coast types of records at that time. Zhigge came to me through like a friend of a friend of a friend of my dad. They were actually dancers at the time. They were Special Edโ€™s dancers, Kazo and Prancer, and Sound Kenny was YZ’s dancer. At that time, in those dancing crews, everybody had thick dreads on the top and fades on the side, like mop heads. Sound came in first and did one song called “Born Black,” and said I wanna do something with my crew. I gave them honestly a record that had all used samples in it,ย  and out of that they made “Toss it Up,” and “Toss it Up” sounded like pure energy at the time. They actually made something out of it when I was just giving them a left-over track. Maybe the horns at the beginning people didnโ€™t recognize, but they were all just basic James Brown breaks.

I did their whole album, and took six months off from school and never went back. Iโ€™ve been rolling ever since. We had “Rakin’ in the Dough,” and they continued after that deal to do “Harlem High.” Kazo actually owns all the Levels barbershops in NY now. Also out of that crew was Trix Galore, who was rhyming on some Lo-Life skit, and he is Ant Marshall of Lyricist Lounge. The Lyricist Lounge grew out of that crew. It’s not always about what you do, itโ€™s about the inspiration that you can give. Being around my dad, he saw black dudes with a studio in Manhattan, and he took his own business aspect out of what he saw around us at that age.