10th April 2020

In this months issue of Hip-Hop Insight, I want to look at the relationship between 70s/80s funk and Hip-Hop. The culture is heavily influenced by funk to the point you could call it the father of Hip-Hop, this is evident from the amount of samples and covers from funk that have been used in Hip-Hop.

Just to name a few…

The Isley Brothers – Between the Sheets

This is a jam you definitely recognise, legendary 70’s band The Isley Brothers gave our parents many tracks to funk to. Between the sheets is one of them, and this track has 2 infamous segments that have been sampled in Hip-Hop.

  • Mac Miller – Good Evening
  • Drake – Ignant Shit (feat. Lil Wayne)

René & Angela – Imaginary Playmates

An old school jam from the ’80s, René and Angela Winbush are an American soul duo responsible for some great 80s music. However, Angela went on to feature with Biggie and Jay-z on one of Hip-Hop’s favourite songs; I Love the Dough.

Loose Ends – Hangin’ on a String

Loose Ends, our very own 80s Soul band from London. A trio of musicians responsible for showing that the UK can hold our own with the best of the funk. Their music lives on through samples in Hip-Hop…

  • MC Eiht – Hangin’
  • Big Daddy Kane – The Lover in You (Mister Cee’s Remix)

Curtis Mayfield – Move on Up

Curtis Mayfield, a legend from the 70s and this is a jam you’ve definitely heard before. But Curtis has been a presence in Hop-Hop for decades, his music has been sampled in music from the likes of Eminem, The Game, Kanye, Jay-Z, Jeru the Damaja, even 2pac so we’re safe to call him a father of Hip-Hop.

The Whispers – And The Beat Goes On

The Whispers, primarily known for their self-titled album that featured this classic hit that still gets played at clubs around the UK to this day.
From LA, their presence was felt for the best part of 2 decades; the 70s and 80s, certainly fathers of Hip-Hop.

Kool & The Gang – Summer Madness

Kool & The Motherf*****g Gang, possibly the biggest band of the Funk era. Responsible for smash hits such as “Get Down on it, Get down on it”, or “I say hey, hey, heey… what you gotcha say… Hollywoooooood, Hollywood swinging” or “Ceeeleeebraateee good times, Come On!”.
Certainly a huge inspiration in this culture we call Hip-Hop, even their band name sounds like a Hip-Hop crew and believe me, they weren’t the ones copying but the ones being copied.

  • Big Pun – You Ain’t a Killer
  • Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth – What’s Next on the Menu
  • Gang Starr – DJ Premier in Deep Concentration
  • ScHoolboy Q – Kno Ya Wrong (feat Lance Skiiwalker)
  • MMG – Self Made (feat. Teedra Moses)

The Isley Brothers – Footsteps in the Dark

The Isley Brothers have made another appearance in this article. Footsteps in the dark; yet another 70s classic enjoyed by the masses of Hip-Hop, especially on the West Coast.

  • Thundercat – Them Changes
  • French Montana – Triple Double (feat. Mac Miller & Curren$y)
  • J Dilla – Won’t Do
  • Slum Village – Call Me (feat. Dwele)

Bill Withers – Lovely Day

The legend Bill Withers, unfortunately passed away earlier this month. Responsible for some smash hits such as Lovely day and Ain’t No Sunshine.
From LA, Withers was heavily active during the 70s and we’ve heard his music sampled in some of our favourite songs.

  • T.W.D.Y. – Players Holiday (feat. Mac Mall & Too $hort)
  • Swizz Beatz – Take a Picture
  • Harlem World – Minute Man (feat. Nauty)
  • Dj Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Lovely Daze
  • Mann – Lovely Day (feat. Frank Ocean)

Fela Kuti – Water No Get Enemy

Fela Kuti, The Nigerian Musical king, a man who was more than a musician. Also a human rights activist and quite possibly Nigeria’s biggest star, Fela was active during the 70s and 80s and has become such a symbol in Nigeria, Lagos that he now has a restaurant and statue dedicated to his legacy.

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