As with reggae, rap contains a wealth of original beats for musical archaeologists to unearth; whereas many reggae producers mined rock-steady rhythms from the Studio One and Treasure Isle studios, their hip-hop counterparts excavated the monster grooves of '70s and early-'80s funk. James Brown and P-Funk family members like Bootsy Collins immediately come to mind, and they are appropriately covered on this Rare Grooves collection. Besides Bootsy's "Hollywood Squares" having been taken over by Too Short and Brown's instrumental "Blind Man Can See It" once getting cherry picked by producer Erick "Funklord" Sermon, the record reveals Dr. Dre's "Nothin' but a 'G' Thang" is really Leon Haywood's "I Want to Do Something Freaky to You" and Redman's "A Day of Sooperman Luver" is an appropriation of Johnny "Guitar" Watson's "Superman Lover." And the exchange wasn't just between funk and hip hop, as a lick from James Brown's "Give It Up or Turn It Loose" is heard opening Tom Browne's late funk classic "Funkin' for Jamaica (N.Y.)." Of course, the list is endless; thankfully, many of the resulting hip-hop productions turned out to be original in their own right. And if your interest in sampling history is only passing, this record also works remarkably well as a solid funk collection, with even more prime cuts by Cameo, Ohio Players, the Floaters, and many others.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook