The lives of Amy Winehouse and Nas first intertwined thanks to a shared producer, Salaam Remi. While recording her debut album, Frank, Remi produced Nas’ “Made You Look,” which he then sampled on Winehouse’s “In My Bed.” The two artists, who shared a birthday (September 14), soon became good friends — maybe more, as Winehouse’s “Me & Mr. Jones” was revealed to be about Nas after her death last year (Jones is Nas’ surname). The pair talked about collaborating, but their musical plans never came together.
The release of the posthumous Lioness: Hidden Treasures last December helped realize a piece of that dream. Nas added rhymes to “Like Smoke,” a previously unfinished Winehouse track produced by Remi. This summer, a second duet from the duo, “Cherry Wine,” was included on Nas’ Life Is Good. Winehouse sings the hook, with Remi again behind the board for the jazzy number, which is even better than the first.
Today, Nas premiered a music video for “Cherry Wine,” which pays elegant tribute to the late soulstress. Directed by Jay Martin (Christina Perri, Graffiti 6), Nas tends bar in an intimate New York City hangout where performance images of Winehouse are projected onto a brick wall.
Watching the clip for “Cherry Wine,” I can’t help but imagine the album the birthdate mates might have made together — Nas and Winehouse as a modern-day Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. Ain’t nothing like the real thing, but that’s not how things worked out. If “Cherry Wine” marks their last pairing (and I’ve read nothing to indicate otherwise), it’s absolutely worth toasting.
Winehouse completists will want to seek out a new box set, Amy Winehouse at the BBC, which collects her various TV and radio performances for the BBC on three DVDs and one CD. It arrives November 12.