During the James Brown sample craze of the late 80's and early '90s, the no nonsense force-of-nature enjoyed a cultural and commercial rebirth. "Mr. Brown wasn't mad that all the rappers were using his music," recalls Bowlegged Lou whose group Full Force handled production duties for the rhythm and blues king's 1988 top 10 comeback album I'm Real. "But he felt he deserved to be paid and credited for those samples. He would say, "It should be Eric B. & Rakim featuring James Brown." The man had a point.
In fact, the most sampled artist in pop music history--everyone from R&B trio Total and a song-stealing accomplice Notorious B.I.G. ("Can't You See") to blue eyed soul crooner George Michael ("Waiting For That Day") have dipped into Brown's immaculate funk pool--is a genre to himself. With the much anticipated James Brown biopic Get On Up hitting theaters this Friday, VIBE set about the arduous task of counting down the top 10 James Brown hip-hop samples. Beat heads debate. All hail The Godfather of Soul! —Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)