23. David Axelrod
Funkiest Jam: David Axelrod "Holy Thursday"
No, not that David Axelrod. The musician David Axelrod started off as a producer for cool jazz labels. He would later join Capitol Records as a producer and A&R rep, proving instrumental in pushing the label to develop its roster of black musicians. There, he formed a partnership with Lou Rawls and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, producing gold albums and hit singles for both.
After he showcased his talent, Capitol allowed Axelrod to make albums of his own. His first two records, Song of Innocence and Songs of Experience, provided sample material for over 100 rap songs. His track "Holy Thursday," for example, has been sampled for such things as The Beatnuts' "Hit Me With That," Lil Wayne's "Dr. Carter," Fat Joe's "Bronx Keeps Creating It," Apache's "Tonto," and more. DJ Shadow, Lauryn Hill, J Dilla and Dr. Dre have all used David Axelrod's heavy soundscapes and swinging strings as raw material.
Without David Axelrod, we wouldn't have a fistful of classic hip-hop records. We also would never have got to hear Kevin Federline's "America's Most Hated," which would be the saddest of all realities. How could David Axelrod not be deemed a funky white boy?