From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The poem starts with the words :
Im nin'alu daltei n'divim daltei marom lo nin'alu
Even if the gates of the rich will be closed, the gates of heaven will never be closed.
Ofra Haza became famous in Europe with this song in the year 1988, when "Paid in Full", a remixed version of the song reached the top ten charts in various countries and becoming a number one in several of these, most notably in West Germany where it topped the charts for nine weeks in the summer of 1988. In the U.K. the track was a Top 20 hit, peaking at #15 and in the U.S. it reached #15 on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart and #18 on Hot Modern Rock Tracks. The "Paid in Full" remix single reportedly sold some three million copies worldwide, making it one of the first world music recordings to cross over to mainstream pop chart success. Even though Haza's version of the song shows her own interpretation, and its presentation was modern and popular, it still fit in the Yemenite tradition that she represented.
In 1997 Haza re-recorded the track for her eponymous album Ofra Haza, produced by Frank Peterson of Enigma and Gregorian. The German promo 12" for the album's lead single "Show Me" also featured two remixes of "Im Nin'Alu".
In 2008 two new remixes were included on the greatest hits compilation Forever Ofra Haza - Her Greatest Songs Remixed.
The song was sampled by rap duo Eric B. & Rakim in their single "Paid In Full", Snoop Dogg used the same sample on his remake of "Paid In Full" titled "Paper'd Up" from his album Paid tha Cost to Be da Bo$$. Nas also used the same sample in his diss song to Jay Z entitled "H to the Homo".
In 1998 Swedish DJ team C&R Project included a sample of the opening line Im nin'alu on their single "The Queen of Tel Aviv", which was credited to C&R Project Featuring Ofra Haza.
Israeli singer Michal Cohen performs "Im Nin‘alu" on La Kahena (2005) by DJ Cheb i Sabbah.
Official versions and remixes
- Original recording, Yemenite Songs album a.k.a. Traditional Version - 5:18
- Shaday Album Mix (Played In Full 7" Mix - English Vocal - Edited) - 3:29
- Played In Full Edit (Ariola Records 7", West Germany) - 3:53
- Played In Full 7" Mix - 4:05
- Played In Full 7" Mix - English Vocal - 4:05
- Played In Full - 7" Yemen Vocal (Teldec 7", West Germany) - 4:50
- Played In Full Mix (12") - 5:45
- Instrumental Dub (U.S. 12") - 5:49
- Extended Mix (12") - 6:40
- Gates of Heaven Mix (Mark Kamins and Frank Inglese, U.S. 12") - 6:54
- "Im Nin'Alu 2000" - 1997 re-recording, album Ofra Haza - 3:38
- 1997 Re-Recording - Ofra Goes To Hollywood Mix ("Show Me" Promo 12", Germany) - 5:15
- 1997 Re-Recording - Some Skunk Funk Remix ("Show Me" Promo 12", Germany) - 7:30
- 2008 Version, album Forever Ofra Haza - Her Greatest Songs Remixed
- Unplugged Mix, album Forever Ofra Haza - Her Greatest Songs Remixed