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How James Brown Influenced Hip-Hop

James Brown's Rhythmic Innovations Helped Shape Hip-Hop

By

How James Brown Influenced Hip-Hop

James Brown

© King

James Brown is popularly referred to as the "Godfather of Soul." He had both the message and the music to live up to that title. But he also put the "Good Foot" forward with a funky new sound that later became known to the world as "hip-hop." It's no coincidence that Mr. Brown is one of the most sampled artists in hip-hop (peep the "Get Up, Get Into It And Get Involved" sample on Nas' "Where Are They Now" from Hip-Hop Is Dead) to date. His rhythmic innovations had a major influence on most popular music styles, including R&B, soul, funk, disco, rock 'n' roll and, of course, rap.

Let's take a look at some of the elements J.B. injected into the genre:

  • His call-and-response style influenced hip-hop choruses.
  • His dynamic rhythms on earlier records inspired break beats and funk drumming.
  • Some of his musical showmanship and footwork inspired young breakdancers.
  • "Funky Drummer," James Brown's 1969 recording with drummer Clyde Stubblefield, is a frequently sampled break in hip-hop.
James Brown died on December 25, 2006 at age 73.

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