Sampling 101 : James Brown – The Payback

sampling-101-back-in-the-day-buffetWho Sampled It Best?

Sampling 101: James Brown – The Payback

james-brown-the-payback-back-n-the-day-buffetJames Brown released his funk track “The Payback” and album of the same name back in 1973.  The song was an instant hit and was produced by James Brown himself. The song is about the ultimate revenge on a man that did James wrong!  Now, who would do that to this Funk legend?  The song has been sampled by many including R&B acts like En Vogue and Total to rap artists like King Tee and EPMD.

“The Payback”

Who Sampled It Best?

1.  King Tee “Payback’s A Mutha”

Back in 1988, DJ Pooh produced one of the greatest King Tee tracks “Payback’s a Mutha“.  The story King Tee tells is that of a young King Tee trying to get into clubs to rap, but being told he was wack!  So the ultimate way to get back at his adversaries is to make it big in Hip Hop.  They use practically the entire song for this west coast classic track and it works perfectly.  This jam was played and requested constantly on KDAY and King Tee became a legend and inspired Biggie Smalls in a major way!

“Payback’s A Mutha”

2.  EPMD – The Big Payback

Technically this track only uses the vocal sample of the female chorus saying, “the big payback” but being that the subject matter is based on the song, it has to be considered. In the video, they go after their enemies with the help of N.W.A and Erick and Parrish use 2 other great James Brown tracks to complete this dope track!  These guys mean business (see what I did there?)!

“The Big Payback”

3.  LL Cool J –  The Boomin’ System

When LL Cool J track “The Boomin’ System” came out, we immediately and easily made the conclusion that he had borrowed the bass riff from En Vogue’sHold On“.  In reality, “Hold On” sampled “The Payback” and LL sample both!  Still, the track made us bump up the volume in our rides and hopefully we had speakers that could take the heavy bass!  The song was everywhere and made our summer of 1990 one to remember.

“The Boomin’ System”

4.  Da Lench Mob – Guerillas in tha Mist

Voodoo running from my magic” had us going crazy in the fall of 1992.  Ice Cube and Da Lench Mob were going “Predator” in the jungle in the video for their classic west coast hit!  The use the James Brown track as the foundation to their track and on top of that place a funky sample of The Main Ingredient’sCalifornia My Way“, and the combination makes one crazy sounding gangster track!

“Guerillas in tha Mist”

Sampling 101: James Brown – The Payback

The question is, which track sampled it better?  Is there a better track than the one’s listed here?  Maybe Total’sCan’t You See” or “King Kunta” by Kendrick Lamar?  You decide and let us know!

“Why do we go back to the originals?” you may ask?  Remember this, “If you don’t know your past, you don’t know your future.”  We give respect to the architects that inspired us with their music!

Who Sampled It Best? is a weekly column that delves into the background of sampling and Hip-Hop culture by taking a deeper look at it’s roots.

Have a suggestion? Hit us up with your favorite tracks that used the same sample and we’ll break it down.

-Al E.


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