Salaam Remi (@SaLaAMReMi) — One: In The Chamber Album Review by @JayFingers

Salaam Remi — One In The Chamber | soulhead

Title: One: In The Chamber
Artist: Salaam Remi
Label: Flying Buddha
Genre(s): Hip-hop / Soul / Reggae
Released: September 30, 2013
Social: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

The storied career of Salaam Remi is well-known. The producer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist has worked with a slew of music’s biggest names, including Amy Winehouse, Nas, The Fugees, Alicia Keys, Miguel, Fergie, Nelly Furtado, and Ne-Yo. He’s been in the game 20 years strong, and his work has garnered critical acclaim, award nominations, and phenomenal sales. So it only stands to reason that, at some point, Remi was going to shift the focus from other artists’ discographies to his own.

One: In The Chamber is Remi’s debut as an artist, a producer-centric album in which Remi supplies the beat and guest artists provide vocals. As to be expected, Chamber is loaded with a full arsenal of top-notch tracks and super-talented guest stars.

The arresting title track, featuring the melodic vocals of Akon, thumps and pulsates with the same menacing urgency of Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones (Part II),” from which it subtly cribs. Akon’s remorseful recounting of his dealings with a dangerous “drama queen” is riveting.

Goddess Corinne Bailey Rae blesses the disc with the sublime, sweetly romantic “Makin’ It Hard for Me.” Estelle does away with the passé terms “fuck buddy” and “friend with benefits,” replacing them with her own slang on the playful “Cup of Tea.” The piano-driven accompaniment almost seems tailor-made for Winehouse, but Estelle acquits herself nicely. Sorry, no tea spilled here.

“More Than Music” is a winner thanks to British crooner Lemar’s slightly raspy, soulful timbre. And Jordin Sparks is blissfully enamored on the ode to her love, “Chocolate Brown Eyes.” The instrumental “Levi’s Place” is a solid groove reminiscent of a Blaxploitation soundtrack album cut. Lush strings dominate his beautiful, orchestral, and still funky cover of Keni Burke’s R&B classic “Risin’ to the Top.” Give it all you’ve got!

Chamber doesn’t always quite hit its marks, though. Stephen Marley’s ragga cover of the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” shows earnest effort, but is ultimately awkward. And even at four minutes, the TSOP-lite “Dah Dah Daht Dah” goes on for too long.

Thanks to an array of talented vocalists and his trademark “broken bottle” production style, Salaam Remi has crafted a debut that, while won’t set the world on fire, is solidly crafted, unpretentious, and very enjoyable. One: In The Chamber hits the bulls-eye.

Grade: B+

Best Tracks

“Makin’ It Hard For Me” (feating Corinne Bailey Rae)

“Chocolate Brown Eyes” (featuring Jordin Sparks)

“Risin’ to the Top”

“Everything I Need”


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