As I mentioned on my own site just now, you d-bags will have to forgive me for taking three days off this week, even if one of those days was Christmas. The plan was to be right back at it the day after Christmas, but I was tired as shit from working like a Hebrew slave at the BGM for the past several weeks. I needed a break.
Speaking of people who needed a break, I’m sure you’ve all heard that Godfather of Sould James Brown bought the proverbial farm early Monday morning. Given his stature in American music, it would’ve been a much bigger deal had it not occurred both on Christmas day and the day before President Gerald Ford checked out.
Still, it was maybe the biggest death in the music community since George Harrison died, and it was especially relevant to the hip-hop community since James Brown’s music was such a huge influence on the genre. Indeed damn near all of the obits I’ve read have made it a point to note that his song “Funky Drummer” is the most sampled beat in all of hip-hop.
However, you’d be wrong to think that James Brown’s influence on hip-hop didn’t extend beyond creating the kind of beats that were popular before hip-hop began to suck balls. Here are several other, less obvious ways in which James Brown left his mark on the genre.
James Brown had a weed carrier
These days it’s de rigueur for famous musicians to have one of their boys from back in the day hold their bag in the airport just in case. Visionary that he was though, James Brown had his right hand man Bobby Byrd holding his stash long before he ever even visited an airport. Indeed as the recent incidents with Snoop Dogg have taught us, a bag can never be too safe.
James Brown turned Republican
Fiddy Cent caused a minor stink a couple of years ago when he announced that he votes Republican, because he’s got it like that. (He probably made out big time in the Bush tax cuts to the rich.) That said, he was far from the first black celebrity to go over to the dark side, so to speak. James Brown beat him to the punch by more than 30 years, having supported Richard Nixon in 1968.
James Brown rocked a shiny suit
A good decade-plus before Diddy and Ma$e shot the video for Biggie’s “Mo Money Mo Problems,” the Godfather of Soul donned a remarkably similar outfit for his cameo appearance in 1985’s Rocky IV, my old rommate Big Mike’s favorite in the entire series.
James Brown liked to get wet
Similarly, the Godfather of Soul seemed to predict the Pimp C incident more than ten years before it actually happened. Granted he didn’t walk through a shopping mall with an AK tucked in his fur coat in the middle of the summer, but the incident with him and the office building and the high speed chase was arguably just as amusing.
James Brown laid the smack down
Finally, what’s more hip-hop than violence against women? In that sense, James Brown is about as hip-hop as they come. He was arrested for putting his shoe on his various wives about as many times over the years as DMX has been arrested for erratic driving, and I don’t think I need to tell you d-bags how may times that is.