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

The Fugees, “Nappy Heads (Remix)” (1994)

Jeff Burroughs, who’s now with X Factor, was their product manager at Colombia Records, and he was roommates with Jessica Rosenblum, NYโ€™s party promoter extraordinaire, and she was managing Funkmaster Flex at the time. He heard Mega Banton’s “Soundboy Killing” and [wanted] something like that for the Fugees. He called me to his office to come check out this group, and mind you heโ€™s marketing, not A&R, so he plays me a videotape of them performing “Vocab” acoustic. It was getting close to Christmas, like Thanksgiving, and I was like let me get this last check out the labels before they shut the books down. And when they came through, they wanted to remix “Nappy Heads.” The original version felt like a Onyx record, it was grimy and uptempo. I started building the track, Wyclef came through to meet me and he had on a bubble goose and nappy, nappy hair, Adidas sweatpants. He took it and vibed on it and was like I want you to meet the girl so in came Pras and Lauryn. I remember the sessionโ€”December 13, 1993โ€”cause I had a cassette with the date on it. Clef rhymed on it for like 15 minutes, and I edited it down. For that same session he did “Gone til November,” “Born in Brooklyn Town.” Having my NY radio, club ear on, I made it so it would start off with the right kind of energyโ€”the “Cheeba cheeba y’all” verse felt right. Lauryn came in did her part. I remember at the time Flex was like, “What are you doing this weekend?” “I’m making a record called ‘Boof Baf,’ with The Fugees. What are you making a record called ‘Boof Baf’ for?”