Would there even be Rap music without James Brown? Probably, but what would it sound like without all of those sweet, sweet breaks? I’d rather not even consider it. In honor of the new Brown biopic Get On Up, which hits theaters today, Pete Rock put together this tribute mix for the hardest working man in the ‘biz.
“When I met James Brown, I think he passed along something to me when I shook his hand. I look at that today, and I say, “Damn, I think James Brown gave me a piece of his [soul] power.” He came to Mount Vernon and he did a concert with Bobby Bird and The JBS in my hood at a spot called the Left Bank. And I’m telling you I’ve never seen Mount Vernon so poppin’ in my entire life! It was always poppin’–don’t get it twisted–because we used to do little parties in the hood and stuff like that and everybody would come out. But James Brown — I mean I was seven years old, me and my brother Grap, and we walked in the joint and my mother talked to one of James’ bodyguards or managers or something and was asking him, “Yo, can my kids meet James?” And the next thing you know, he came up behind us and I shook his hand and he was like, “God bless you man, God bless you.” And he shook my mother’s hand and he shook my brother’s hand. And it left something with me. This was before he got on stage. He shook our hands and then we watched the show. And I left that place not the same. So you see how strong black music can be. It had a heavy impact on me in my life.”
Stream the mix below.
Previously: In The Lab with Pete Rock (Nahright Interview)