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James Brown: The King of Hip Hop

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  • The iconic James Brown earned his nickname as the Godfather of Soul, but he had influenced the creation of many genres that came later. He had a long and prosperous career that spanned over 50 years. He started playing mostly gospel music in the ’50s, then R’n’B and soul in the ’60s. He was directly involved with the invention of a new funk genre throughout the sixties that would attract anyone to the dancefloor. Its groovy sound came from the emphasized bassline and drum sections, borrowing the idea from (bebop) jazz, soul and R&B.

    He is the most sampled musician in the history of sampling – using excerpts from other tracks and infiltrates them in original melody and elements, or mixing it with other samples. Knowing that hip hop was based on that technique, it is no surprise many hip hop artists borrowed his sound to create new music. And staying relevant long after one is gone speaks on its own about the legend James Brown was and still is today.

    Brown’s ‘Funky Drummer’ is one of the most important songs ever. It was a jam session product recorded in 1969 with Clyde Stubblefield, the original funky drummer, Fred Wesley on the trombone and Maceo Parker on tenor saxophone, among many others. Today it is one of the most sampled drum breaks and its breakbeat is wildly popular in hip hop. Some of the artists that have sampled this song (among many other James’ songs) are Dr. Dre, Nas, Public Enemy, Jay Z, LL Cool J, Run DMC, Grandmaster Flash, De La Soul, Ice Cube etc.

    Another song that Brown wrote and produced that was used in many other music pieces was ‘Think (About It)’ recorded by Lyn Collins in 1972. It was once again the tempting drum beat that influenced other artists, as well as the vocal ‘yeah woo’ passage. The song was the official soundtrack on the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas radio. Hundreds of other (mostly hip hop) tracks have sampled this one.

    ‘The Payback’ was a song originally written by Fred Wesley but completely rearranged by James in 1973. When you first hear the song, you get the same feeling you have when you play an online sex simulator game, as it improves your bloodstream instantly. With the likes of Massive Attack, En Vogue, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, Nas, Gramatik and dozens of others, this jingle is also one of the most sampled ones. It was also a part of the San Andreas soundtrack as well as Django Unchained and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels.

    One more masterpiece that has also been featured on the game’s radio was ‘Funky President,’ recorded in 1974. This sexy tune lifts your mood so much you need JerkDolls porn games collection to cool yourself off. This one was heavily used in the ’80s and still is very popular among modern artists like Kanye West, who has sampled it multiple times, Calvin Harris, Black Eyed Peas, Childish Gambino, etc.

    His musical style was diverse but unique, so it is no wonder the man influenced so many that came after him. Many musicians cited Brown as their main inspiration – Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Prince, Michael Jackson, Afrika Bambaataa, Jay Z, Public Enemy…

    It is tough to hear any of his tunes and not nod with your head or shake your shoulders. After all, funk inspired hip hop, hip hop inspired disco, disco inspired house music and James Brown united them all.

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