By Carter Maness
While celebrating Nas’ birthday today, we’d be remiss if we didn’t also acknowledge what would have been the 29th birthday of soulful pop artist and frequent hip-hop collaborator Amy Winehouse.
Winehouse, whose near-vintage voice made her a favorite of rappers to add some authentic emotion to songs, was certainly a favorite collaborator of Nas. She dedicated the 2006 track “Me And Mr. Jones” to the Queens rappers and the two collaborated on “Like Smoke,” which appeared on her 2011 posthumous album Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures, as well as the track “Cherry Wine” on Nas’ 2012 album Life is Good.
Earlier this year, Nas paid tribute to the British songstress. “It was important for me to have Amy because that’s what we were doing. That was the direction me and her were going in, to work,” he told MTV News. “It’s hard to talk about it because she’s missed and she’s one of a kind. I think it’s a magic moment between us, me and her, and may she rest in peace and love.”
Winehouse didn’t only collaborate with Nas on the rap front, though. She got a cred-building remix of her well-known single “Rehab” when Jay-Z rapped over it, flexed her soul muscles with Ghostface Killah on the Mark Ronson-produced “You Know I’m No Good and got guest verses and remixes from Yasiin Bey (Most Def) and Pharoahe Monch among others.
A true artist who constantly fought a battle between her unique and undeniable talent and some strong personal demons, Winehouse’s one-of-a-king voice, style and artistry will certainly remain a pillar of music for a long time.