Salaam Remi On “Thief’s Theme” vs. “Hip-Hop Is Dead”

Salaam Remi gives his take on Will.I.Am recycling the baseline from “Thief’s Theme” for “Hip-Hop Is Dead”. To hear Salaam tell it, his track never received the props it deserved.

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  • Will.I.Am produced a song called “hip-hop is dead?” The IRONY

  • mac DIESEL



  • Van

    One of the goat hip hop producers.

    If you don’t know now you know, nigga (c)

  • Dan

    Salaam Remi’s version was ill. That beat was fucking bullshit.

  • I got into a serious argument over this when he dropped Hip Hop Is Dead single cuz my mans liked it better then Thief’s Theme. And I just couldn’t believe it. From the beat, lyrics, to the video, Thief’s Theme murders Will’s sh^t. And when the track came on in The Departed, I lost my sh^t.

  • izzy

    Salaam Remi version was awesome Thief theme > Hip hop is dead , this fake ass nigga Will i am just speed up the beat

  • mike

    thief’s theme IZ A CLASSIC track
    hiphop is dead is a very good song
    that’s it

    thiefs theme BEAT iz ill
    but hhid beat is dope also
    don’t blame william (because hes a bep)
    the instrumental was more speed wit another subject from nas

    IZ SICK!

  • pro-rican

    The better question what “marketing” genius thought it would be a good idea to put the same damn song out as the LEAD single. how are you attracting new fans, with the same shit or pissing of old fans by hearing a watered down verison of a song they liked allready? Def Jam lost

  • Dashing

    I think the cool thing to do on this site is go for the producer with more street cred, but they were both dope versions. But completely different.

    Will.I.Am’s version, “Hip Hop is Dead” was more successful because the beat was more pop-sounding, the hook had a familiar Jimi Hendrix-like voice on it, and the concept was controversial.

    By the way to all of the Will.I.Am haters on here…

    Will.I.Am FULLY produced Hip Hop is Dead. The track was originally a partially recorded song that he did with Nas over an entirely different beat. Will.I.Am chopped up part of Nas’ vocals and looped them into a hook. “If hip hop should die before I awake..go to every station murder the DJ” he looped that, made the new beat with the Hendrix sample and then used the old Nas verses for the new beat. And he added his own hook. He crafted the entire track.

    “Thief’s theme” on the other hand was grittier subject matter, darker video and sampled a line from “The World is Yours.”

    Nothing wrong with having a preference of one over the other but to say the beat for “hip hop is Dead” is bullshit is bullshit. From a production standpoint, his drums knock harder and have more variety and he added a lot of other elements aside from just sampling it.

    I know it’s easy to hate on dude since he’s got pop records out there but he wouldn’t have produced for Talib Kweli, Common, Busta Rhymes, Nas, The Game, and other credible hip hop artsits if he wasn’t a dope producer.


    Thief’s Theme all fucking day. That shit is so grimey!!!!

    “Deaf crack fiend that can’t speak scream noises, cuz she bought a jum of soap from one of my boys”

    So vivid, no one paints a clearer picture


    One Two
    Check One Two, One Two
    Who got more style than son do?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

  • Chris

    Both versions are dope, but Theif’s Theme is so goddamn underrated. And So is Salaam Remi as a producer not just in Hip-Hop but in Reggae and Soul. He was 100% correct about that record. I remember thinking that record was even better than Made You Look which was a smash, and everyone I spoke was like “its aight, aight”, I was like “This is a hotter pure Hip-Hop record than Lean Back and Got it Twisted, what’s good?”

  • Dashing

    @ Chris and @ Queenz

    Thief’s Theme is definitely underrated and Nas goes off on it. Salaam Remi is also criminally underrated.

    The entire Street’s Disciple album is extremely underrated. I think it’s the best made hip hop double album. Life After Death was obviously great, but people choose to forget the many filler tracks that are not very good. Outside of the joint with Busta (Suicide Bounce?) and the one with Kelis (American Way) the album was fire.


    @ Dashing

    I agree with you bro, Salaam is slept on so much it’s sickening.

    I never understood some people’s gripes with Street’s Disciple but it mostly came from Disc 2 simply because of his songs about his relationship with Kelis. What those people don’t understand is that Nas like everyone else walking this Earth goes through different times in their life so you can’t expect him to spit that “uzi in my army jacket lining” on every fucking track. And even if you did he couldn’t have gone any harder on “Nazareth Savage” (Disc 1). I think that album was amazing. Even on “Suicide Bounce” like Dashing mentioned, his bars were on point but maybe the track was too busy with Busta on it, im still debating that 6 years later. On “American Way” my only complaint on that joint was Kelis’ voice, otherwise Q-Tip and Nas did a nice job on that joint, I don’t remember Tip sampled on that one but it was supposed to sound like a 80s joint so I see why some cats can’t really get with it. So like you said, as far as Disc 1 goes, “American Way” was the only one I’m on the fence about, every thing else on that disc was crazy. It hurts my heart that “Serious” with AZ, “Talk of New York”, or “Anybody Test” weren’t on the album but those records were just too hard for the masses. They make for precious collector’s records though, along the lines of “Blaze a 50” and “Drunk By Myself” from the “I Am” album era circa 1999 or “Silent Murder” circa 1996. Disc 2 was dope too, it just took a more pleasant feel to it whereas Disc 1 was more somber and more harsh. In any case, SD was a great album, his bars alone on “Nazareth Savage” kills anything put in front of it.

    For those who haven’t picked up this album or gave it a good listen, I recommend that you do cuz its the truth. 6 years later its still in heavy rotation for me.

  • raul

    Will i am is a botty rapper but GREAT producer dont hate it(coomon nas tooshort agree) I think with all the chanting footstomp Im going with the BEP guy

  • Who Me?!

    Smooth Brova Salaam, One of my Fav Producers! But still there’s nothing quite like Nas and Primo.

  • This album was my shit back in 04. That was like one of the last great years in hip hop. 05 was great too…But this album was def slept on and Salaam Remi is one of the dopest producers ever. This nigga went from makin Nas’ classics to making Amy Winehouse’s 1st album a classic, Chrisette Michelle’s 1st album a classic, AND Jazmine Sullivan’s 1st disc a classic. I betchall niggaz didn’t even know he produced the bulk end on all 3 of those albums…

  • e20

    Streets Disciple is a good album but If it had Talk of New York and Serious w/AZ on Disc 1 instead of American Way and These Are Our Hero’s it woulda been classic. These Are Our Hero’s coulda been moved to disc 2 and suicide bounce to disc 1

    Thief’s Theme goes way harder than Hip Hop is Dead ask Martin Scorcese