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50 Of My Favorite Hip-Hop Songs that Sampled James Brown

What You Gonna Play Now…What Ever it Is, it Got to Be Funky

To say hip-hop would not have existed without artists like James Brown may be an overstatement of the facts to some. I am not here to debate that or the fact that he may be the most sampled artists. But the show his importance to this thing we know as hip-hop.

His music was the foundation for many groups and artists. Groups like Public Enemy, Eric B and Rakim, EPMD, just to name a few heavily sampled James Brown. Some even sampled several James brown records for the same song, like Leaders Of The New School’s Sobb Story, EPMD’s Gold Digger, De La Soul’s Me Myself & I and Cypress Hill’s How I Could Kill A Man for example. Ice Cube’s Jackin For Beats sampled at least 3 JB tunes.

Several hip hop artists and producers have used the same James brown sample, either using different elements of it or just flipping it a different way. A good example is The Intro track to The Payback album; at least 65 hip hop songs used it. Not just strictly hip-hop groups either, but R&B artists and groups who are influenced by or part of the hip-hop culture, like Mary J Blige, En Vogue, Total, R Kelly and Brandy.

While there is no way to include every record that sampled James Brown, below is a list of 50 of my favorite hip-hop records (and hip-hop influenced joints) that sampled James Brown, in no particular order.

So you can follow along, here is a sampled of how they are arranged.

Name of Song – Artist
“James Brown song sampled” The album it appeared on (Label and year it came out)

I’m quite sure some will tell me what I left out. Please feel free to hit me in the comment section with your favorite Jame Brown sampled joint! The purpose of this article is to give James Brown the props he deserves and possible educate many who may not know that your favorite hip-hop record originated from a James Brown Sample! Enjoy!

1. T.R.O.Y. – Pete Rock & CL Smooth
“I’m Black and I’m Proud” Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud: (King 1969)

2. Welcome to the Terrordome- Public Enemy
“Cold Sweat” Cold Sweat: (King 1967)

3. Move the Crowd – Eric B and Rakim
“I’m Black and I’m Proud” Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud: (King 1969)

4. Poetry – Boogie Down Productions
“Soul Power Pt I” Soul Classics: (Polydor 1972)

5. Raw – Big Daddy Kane
“Escape-ism” Hot Pants: (Polydor 1971)
Here I am R-A-W, a terrorist here to bring trouble to…

6. Me, Myself and I – De la Soul
“The Little Groove Maker Pt I” It’s a Mother: (King 1969)
“Mother Popcorn” It’s a Mother: (King 1969)

7. Gold Digger- EPMD
“It’s a New Day” Its a New Day So Let a Man Come in and Do the Popcorn: (King 1970)
“Let a Man Come in and Do the Popcorn” Its a New Day So Let a Man Come in and Do the Popcorn: (King 1970)

8. Nobody Beats the Biz – Biz Markie
“Get up I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine” Sex Machine: (King 1970)

9. Just a Friendly Game of Baseball – Main Source
“You Mother You” Sho is Funky Down Here: (King 1971)

10. Isn’t He Something? – Lord Finesse
“Album Intro” Revolution of the Mind: (Polydor 1971)
“Slaughter’s Theme” Slaughter’s Big Rip Off: (Polydor 1973)

11. Throw Ya Gunz – Onyx
“Escape-ism” Hot Pants: (Polydor 1971)

12. Punks Jump up to Get Beat Down – Brand Nubian
“Public Enemy No. 1” There it Is: (Polydor 1972)

13. How Ya Like Me Now? – Kool Moe Dee
“Night Train” Night Train: (King 1961)
“Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag: (King 1965)

14. Ruffneck – MC Lyte
“The Payback” (Intro) The Payback: (Polydor 1974)

15. We’re All in the Same Gang – West Coast Rap All Stars
“Night Train” Night Train: (King 1961)

16. AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted – Ice Cube
“There it Is” There it Is: (Polydor 1972)

17. Don’t Believe the Hype – Public Enemy
“Escape-ism” Hot Pants: (Polydor 1971)
“I Got Ants in My Pants” Get on the Good Foot: (Polydor 1972)

18. Jackin’ for Beats – Ice Cube
“It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” (Intro) It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World: (King 1966)
“Cold Sweat” Cold Sweat: (King 1967)
“The Payback” (Intro) The Payback: (Polydor 1974)

19. How I Could Just Kill a Man – Cypress Hill
“Escape-ism” Hot Pants: (Polydor 1971)
“I Got Ants in My Pants” Get on the Good Foot: (Polydor 1972)

20. Manifest – GangStarr
“Bring it Up (Hipster’s Avenue)” James Brown Sings Raw Soul: (King 1967)

21. All for One – Brand Nubian
“Just Enough Room for Storage” Sho is Funky Down Here: (King 1971)

22. Paid in Full – Eric B and Rakim
“Hot Pants” (‘Original JBs’ press) Hot Pants: (Polydor 1971)

23. Dreams – Notorious B.I.G.
“Blues and Pants” Hot Pants: (Polydor 1971)

24. The Overweight Lovers in the House – Heavy D
“Escape-ism” Hot Pants: (Polydor 1971)

25. Ghetto Red Hot – Super Cat
“Escape-ism” Hot Pants: (Polydor 1971)

26. Enta Da Stage – Black Moon
“Album Intro” Revolution of the Mind: (Polydor 1971)

27. Sobb Story – Leaders of the New School
“Talkin Loud and Sayin’ Nothing” There it Is: (Polydor 1972)
“White Lightnin’ (I Mean Moonshine)” Black Caesar: (Polydor 1973)

28. Funky Enough – DOC
“Album Intro” Revolution of the Mind: (Polydor 1971)

29. Night of the Living Baseheads – Public Enemy
“Soul Power Pt I” Soul Classics: (Polydor 1972)

30.Mic Checka – Das EFX
“Soul Power Pt I” Soul Classics: (Polydor 1972)
“The Payback” (Intro) The Payback: (Polydor 1974)

31. They Want EFX – Das EFX
“The Payback” (Intro) The Payback: (Polydor 1974)

32. Beats to the Rhyme – Run-DMC
“Talkin Loud and Sayin’ Nothing” There it Is: (Polydor 1972)

33. J. Beez Comin’ Through – Jungle Brothers
“There it Is” There it Is: (Polydor 1972)

34. Droppin’ Science – Craig G
“Make it Funky” There it Is: (Polydor 1972)

35. I Don’t Know – SlumVillage
“Make it Funky” There it Is: (Polydor 1972)

36. Run’s House – RUN DMC
“Funky Drummer” (King 1969)

37. New York (Ya Out There)- Rakim
“Blind Man Can See It” Black Caesar: (Polydor 1973)

38. No Diggity – Blackstreet
“Blind Man Can See It” Black Caesar: (Polydor 1973)

39. Funky Technician – Lord Finesse
“Blind Man Can See It” Black Caesar: (Polydor 1973)

40. I Will Always Love H.E.R – Peanut Butter Wolf
“Blind Man Can See It” Black Caesar: (Polydor 1973)

41. Slick Rick The Ruler – Slick Rick
“The Payback” (Intro) The Payback: (Polydor 1974)

42. Buck Whylin’- Terminator X
“The Payback” (Intro) The Payback: (Polydor 1974)

43. Do The James – Super Lover C
“Blues and Pants” Hot Pants: (Polydor 1971)

44. Hey Ladies – The Beastie Boys
“Aint It Funky” Aint It Funky (King 1969)

45. Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg – TLC
“Escape-ism” Hot Pants: (Polydor 1971)

46. Can’t You See – Total ft Notorious B.I.G.
“The Payback” (Intro) The Payback: (Polydor 1974)

47. I Wanna Be Down – Brandy ft MC Lyte, Yo-Yo and Queen Latifah
“The Payback” (Intro) The Payback: (Polydor 1974)

48. (My Lovin’) You’re Never Gonna Get It – En Vogue & Hold On – En Vogue
“The Payback” (Intro) The Payback: (Polydor 1974)

49. Fallin’ – Alicia Keys
“It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” (Intro) It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World: (King 1966)

50. Everything – Mary J. Blige
“The Payback” (Intro) The Payback: (Polydor 1974)

Other hip hop artists, groups and producers who sampled James Brown and are not on this list include; Craig Mack, Snop Dogg, Steady B, Mellow Man, Ace, Master Ace, Marley Marl, MC Shan, Mr. Complex feat. L Fudge, Scarface, Coolio, Black Rock & Ron, MC Hammer, Grand Master Flash & The Furious Five, DJ Magic Mike, The 2 Live Crew, 3X Dope, DJ Shadow, Ice T, Audio Two, Divine Stylers, Everlast, Geto Boys, Stesasonic, Artifacts, Lords Of the Underground, JVC FORCE, Soul II Soul, Soul IV Real, Tradegy, Redman, The Fat Boys, Jaz, Boo- Yaa Tribe, Digible Planets, Chubb Rock, D, Nice, Vanilla Ice, The Real Roxanne, Schoolly D, UMC’s Kid N Play, Sweet T, King T, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Salt N Pepa and so on and so on. I swapped out a few but these could have easily been my favorite 100 songs…

James Brown (and his band’s) music have been sampled 7,413 times, he’s the most sampled artist in music. “Funky Drummer” is widely considered one of most influential and important pieces of sampled music. With 1,511 uses, this is one of his most borrowed-from tracks, making it the fourth most sampled track.

Here’s just a small taste of the diverse artists that have used Brown’s most famous soulful beat: 2 Live Crew: “Coolin,’  Beastie Boys: “Shadrach,” Big Daddy Kane: “Mortal Combat,” De La Soul: “Oodles of O’s,” Depeche Mode: “My Joy,” Digable Planets: “Where I’m From,” DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince: “Pump Up the Bass,” Dr. Dre: “Let Me Ride,” Enigma: “Carly’s Song,” Eric B & Rakim: “Paid in Full,” Fine Young Cannibals: “I’m Not the Man I Used to Be,” GangStarr: “2 Deep,” George Michael: “Waiting for That Day,” Geto Boys: “Mind of a Lunatic,” Heavy D: “We Got Our Own Thang,” Ice Cube: “Endangered Species,” Ice T: “Original Gangster,” Kris Kross: “Jump,” Leaders of the New School: “Teachers, Don’t Teach Us Nonsense,” LL Cool J: “Mama Said Knock You Out,” Marky Mark: “Good Vibrations,” MC Lyte: “Brooklyn,” Milli Vanilli: “Girl You Know It’s True,” Mobb Deep: “Flavor for the Non-Believes,” Nas: “Get Down,” Naughty by Nature: “Ready for Dem,” New Order: “Ruined in a Day,” Nine Inch Nails: “Piggy (Nothing Can Stop Me Now),” NWA: “F–k Tha Police,” Pete Rock & CL Smooth: “Go With the Flow,” Prince: “Gett Off”, “My Name Is Prince,” Public Enemy: “Bring the Noise”, “Fight the Power,” Redman: “Rated R,” Roxanne Shante: “Have a Nice Day,” Run-DMC: “Run’s House,” Salt-N-Pepa: “Let the Rhythm Run,” Scarface: “Born Killer,” Sinead O’Connor: “I Am Stretched on Your Grave,” Sir Mix-A-Lot: “No Holds Barred,” Slayer & Atari Teenage Riot: “No Remorse (I Wanna Die),” Sublime: “Scarlet Begonias,” TLC: “Shock Dat Monkey,” Tupac ft Richie Rich: “Lie to Kick It,” Ultramagnetic MC: “Give the Drummer Some,” Vanilla Ice: “Stop That Train”

I think you see what I’m saying, without James brown where would hip-hop be? Would hip-hop as we know it even have existed, without the Hardest Working Man In Show Business?

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About AJ Woodson (2369 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
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