James Brown

Hot Pants

Composed by Fred Wesley / James Brown

Song Review by

Like many R&B performers, James Brown had a penchant for knocking out the occasional ode to the female form. Brown's most memorable entry into this arena is "Hot Pants," an entertainingly salacious track that marries lustful raps to a groove that is difficult to resist. Interestingly, the lyrics divide their time between ogling women who wear the title garment and admiring them for using "what they got/to get what they want." The music behind these sentiments focuses on groove instead of melody, pacing the lyrics to create a rhythmic effect (especially on the catchy, oft-repeated "she got to use what she got/To get what she wants"). James Brown's recording of the song further draws out this rhythmic style with an arrangement that builds itself on a scratching, infectious rhythm guitar riff and layers swinging horn arrangements over the top. It also works in some nice instrumental breaks that raise the song excitement level with staccato, ascending bass, and horn riffs. The song is topped off nicely by Brown's witty but soulful rapped vocals about the title subject. The combination of a timely subject and infectious riffing made "Hot Pants" a major hit for Brown, shooting to the top of the R&B charts and achieving a respectable Top 15 ranking on the pop charts. Brown later re-recorded the tune for the Hot Pants album in a version that upped the tempo to create a more frenetic feel. The song is pretty potent either way but many funk fans prefer the original single version, whose relaxed but swinging feel captures the lyrical feel perfectly.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Sex Machine 1970 Lt / Music Products 1:16
Hot Pants 1971 Polydor 8:42
Soul Classics 1972
No Image 1977 Polydor
In the Jungle Groove 1986 Polydor 8:44
Soul Jubilee 1990 Magnum (UK) / MagMid 3:31
Original Showman Live 1991 Onyx Classics 0:56
Turn It Loose 1994 Drive Archive 0:56
Billboard Hot Soul Hits: 1971 1995
Various Artists
Rhino 3:09
Live [Summit] 1995 Import 1:05
Golden Hits [Intercontinental] 1996 Intercontinental Records 1:16
Make It Funky - The Big Payback: 1971-1975 1996 Chronicles / Polydor 7:20
Classic Funk, Vol. 2 1996
Various Artists
Import 8:40
40th Anniversary Collection 1996 Polydor 3:06
Cold Sweat [Hallmark] 1996 Hallmark Recordings / Red Label
Greatest Hits [Experience] 1997 Experience / Mozaic
James Brown's Golden Classics 1997 Intercontinental Records 1:12
Super Stars 1997 Super 1:17
Golden Hits [Galaxy] 1997 Galaxy Music 0:56
The Very Best of James Brown [Polygram] 1998 Polydor 3:08
Gold Collection [Fine Tune] 1998 Fine Tune 0:56
The Godfather of Soul Live 1998 Mastertone 0:58
It's a Live Live Live World 1998 Emporio 1:05
Jam '80 1998 Aim Records
Masters [Cleopatra] 1999 EDM Entertainment 1:12
Prisoner of Love [Madacy] 1999 Madacy 0:52
On Stage 1999 Charly Records 1:17
James Brown [Magic Collection] 2000 The Magic Collection 1:00
Papa's Got a Brand New Bag: Live at Chaiston Park 2000 Castle Pulse 0:56
Center Stage: Live 2000 Delta Distribution
Remixed Dance Hits 2001 Golden Music / Cleopatra 4:59
Get up Offa That Thing [2001] 2001 Bianco 1:15
The Best of James Brown [Direct Source] 2001 Direct Source 0:46
Papa's Got a Brand New Bag [Goldies] 2001 Goldies 1:14
Sinfonie der Sterne, 70ER Jahre 2001
Various Artists
Bear Family Records
The Legends Collection: The James Brown Collection 2001 Legends Collection 1:06
The James Brown Collection, Vol. 2 2001 Dressed To Kill 1:06
Out of Sight: Greatest Hits 2002 Polydor
The Best of James Brown 2002 Essential Records
Super Bad: Live 2002 Orpheus Records 1:12
Original Funk Soul Brother [2002] 2002 Recall (UK) 1:16
Live at Chastain Park 1985 [Video] 2002 Galaxy Music
In Concert 2002 MSI Music Distribution / Membran
No Image 2002
Various Artists
Ultimate Collection 2003 The Ultimate Music Collection 1:04
Live Top Ten With Special Guests 2003 BMG Special Products 1:52
It's Too Funky in Here 2003 Dynamic 1:16
Sexmachine 2003 Forever Gold / Weton 1:19
Get on Up: Hip Hop Trax Sampling James Brown 2003
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Hang All DJ's, Vol. 2 2003
Various Artists
Wax / Waxed Soul Recordings 0:43
Gold Collection: Soul Collection 2004
Various Artists
St. Clair 1:13
Hall of Fame [Laserlite] 2004 Laserlight
Soul Survivor 2004 Polydor
Give It Up or Turn It Loose 2004 Pazzazz 1:16
Please Please Please [Pazzazz] 2004 Pazzazz 1:16
No Image 2005 San Juan Ltd. 4:59
Forevergold 2005 Forever Gold (Allegiance)
The Collection [Performax] 2005 Performax 1:15
The World of Superhits of the 70's 2005
Various Artists
ZYX Music 1:13
Golden Legends: James Brown Live 2006 Madacy 1:13
That's Soul [Golden Stars] 2006
Various Artists
Golden Stars 1:19
The Collection [Musicmania] 2006 Brilliant / Musicmania 1:16
James Brown [Direct Source] 2006 Direct Source 4:58
No Image 2006
Various Artists
TMC Records 8:40
Forever Gold: James Brown Live 2007 St. Clair 1:12
Mastercuts 2007 Mastercuts 1:12
Live in Atlanta 2007 KRB Music 1:14
Ultimate Showman: Live in Concert 2007 Deluxe
James Brown [Madacy] 2007 Madacy 1:13
Remixing Mister Brown 2007 Lilith 4:55
Greatest Hits [Deja Vu] 2007 Deja Vu
Godfather of Soul, Disc 3 2007 Madacy 5:02
Best of Hits 2008 St. Clair 1:12
No Image 2008 Platinum Collection / WG Productions
James Brown [Weton-Wesgram] 2008 Weton-Wesgram
No Image 2008 St. Clair
The Singles, Vol. 7: 1970-1972 2009 Hip-O Select / Polydor 3:08
Triple Feature 2009 Custom Marketing Group / Sony BMG 1:52
Five Classic Albums Plus 2013 Real Gone Music
The Soul Legend 2014 Wagram
Get on Up: Live in America 2014 Gonzo / Gonzo Distribution Ltd. / Gonzo Multimedia / United States of Distribution 0:56
Ultimate Legends: Live 2016 AAO Music / The Ultimate Music Collection 1:04
Soul Train Live 2016 Air Cuts
No Image
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 3:36
Best of the Blues: James Brown - Live at Chastain Park Éditions Atlas
Best of the Sexmachine: Live ZYX 0:52
James Brown Live, Vol. 2 OBJECT 1:07
No Image X5 4:59
No Image Phantom
Papa's Got a Brand New Bag: Live Classic Music Company / MVD / Wienerworld
Sex Machine [Excalibur] Excalibur 0:54
Soul Collection [Music & Melody]
Various Artists
Music & Melody 0:52
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