James Brown May Be The Most Sampled Artist In Hip-Hop History
Though exact stats are difficult to come by, James Brown’s music is the backbone of hip-hop. As JB expert Harry Weinger once put it: “Brown shifts the emphasis in music from the top to the bottom. He also makes the groove or vamp the main element of a song rather than merely using it in the intro or outro.” And whether or not you agree with Stetsasonic’s “All That Jazz” argument—“Tell the truth, James Brown was old / 'Til Eric and Rakim came out with 'I Got Soul’”—the fact remains that DJs and MCs have been using JB’s records as breakbeats for years. “The Vapors” by Biz Markie used “Papa Don't Take No Mess,” Public Enemy’s “Welcome to the Terrordome” sampled Brown’s “Cold Sweat,” and last year Pharrell Williams laced Kanye West and Jay-Z’s “Gotta Have It” from their Watch the Throne album, with Brown’s “My Thang.