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Nas to Be Honored, Perform at Amy Winehouse Foundation Gala

Nas Amy Winehouse Split - H 2012
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The hip-hop icon will be honored alongside singer Tony Bennett and producer Salaam Remi with the Amy Winehouse Inspiration Award.

The Amy Winehouse Foundation announced that rap legend Nas will be honored at the Amy Winehouse Inspiration Awards & Gala, taking place at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City on Oct. 11. The foundation chose to honor Nas for his contributions in “helping to inspire greatness in others.”

Singer Tony Bennett, who donated a portion of the proceeds from his "Body & Soul" track with Winehouse to the Winehouse foundation, and producer Salaam Remi, who introduced Nas and Winehouse, will also be honored with the Amy Winehouse Inspiration Award.

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Formed in 2011 by her family, the Amy Winehouse foundation was developed in the U.K. to honor Winehouse and her contributions of music education to children in need after her passing in July 2011. It was launched in New York City in April.

Nas and Winehouse were not simply musical colleagues but reportedly good friends as well. The duo met in 2004 and has since recorded tracks together that highlight their compatibility as musicians from two different genres. Nas’ hip-hop roots blended with Winehouse’s raspy soul sound created two instantly popular tracks on both artists’ albums. Remi, who produced the Winehouse-Nas track “Like Smoke” from her Lioness: Hidden Treasures album, recently talked to THR about his relationship with Winehouse and Nas.

"When I'd just met Amy, I was doing 'Made You Look' for Nas' God's Son album at the time," Remi said. "And I was just starting to work on Amy's Frank album, so there are Nas songs where Amy did ad libs on them that we never put out that were just background that she was just singing on. She was really inspired by him ... Over the last couple years a lot of times if I had my computer on in the studio, my Skype would ring and Amy would be there, 'Hey what's up?' And then she'd end up talking to Nas or whatever, then they got each other numbers and they would talk. Remi also produced “Cherry Wine” from Nas’ newest release Life is Good, also featuring Winehouse.

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“Amy was an amazing talent and a special artist. She was like a little sister to me,” said Nas. “I’m happy to be involved with a foundation that not only keeps her memory alive but helps support those things she cared most about -- kids and music.”

The upcoming gala will feature Nas as well as other performers that have yet to be announced. This is the first gala thrown by the Winehouse foundation, which is run by her parents Mitch and Janis Winehouse, and tickets are priced at $1,000. The entire proceeds from this event will go to the many US programs supported by the Amy Winehouse Foundation.