The storied career of Salaam Remi is well-known. The producer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist has worked with a slew of musics biggest names, including Amy Winehouse, Nas, The Fugees, Alicia Keys, Miguel, Fergie, Nelly Furtado, and Ne-Yo. Hes 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 Remis 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 Deeps Shook Ones (Part II), from which it subtly cribs. Akons 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 Lemars slightly raspy, soulful timbre. And Jordin Sparks is blissfully enamored on the ode to her love, Chocolate Brown Eyes. The instrumental Levis Place is a solid groove reminiscent of a Blaxploitation soundtrack album cut. Lush strings dominate his beautiful, orchestral, and still funky cover of Keni Burkes R&B classic Risin to the Top. Give it all youve got!
Chamber doesnt always quite hit its marks, though. Stephen Marleys 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 wont set the world on fire, is solidly crafted, unpretentious, and very enjoyable. One: In The Chamber hits the bulls-eye.
Makin It Hard For Me (feating Corinne Bailey Rae)
Chocolate Brown Eyes (featuring Jordin Sparks)
Risin to the Top
“Everything I Need”