Funk Fridays: Tom Browne: Funkin’ for Jamaica

Funk Friday, Mariah Carey, music, Snoop Dogg, Tom Browne

1980; the beginning of my favourite decade of music. The year that former movie star Ronald Regan stunned politics by becoming the President of the USA, millions were hooked by Dallas’ ‘Who Shot JR’ saga; and the summer Olympics controversially came to Russia. Alas, those events pale in significance to one of the finest musical contributions not just of the decade but of all time *Kanye voice*, when Tom Browne produced this classic anthem, Funkin’ for Jamaica.


Tom was a jazz musician in the late 70’s but found fame when this hit blew up. Starting with the blare of the trumpet at the beginning and building slowly, with the addition of the drums, then the piano and bass, the groove is irresistible. Becoming a chart hit in both the UK and the US, this song is still a firm favourite decades later.

 Along with Funkadelic’s Not Just Knee Deep, this has to be one of the most sampled songs in hip-hop history and seems to be one of those songs that you turn to if you are in need of a hit – budding producers, take note. I could probably go on for ages listing the number of times that this song has been sampled but alas they cannot touch the original. However, here are a couple of my favourites anyway:

 Mariah Carey, even during her kerrraaazzzyyyyy ‘Glitter’ period had the sense to use this song on a track with the former James Brown for the 00’s man of the moment, Mystikal back in 2001. ‘Don’t Stop (Get on The Floor)’ was a quality song from the Glitter soundtrack that brought Funkin’ for Jamaica right up to date.


On Snoop Dogg’s classic ‘Whats My Name’ the little known club remix (and quite possibly the best remix known to man) uses the Funkin’ for Jamaica bassline in the body of the track before substituting the chorus with “Snoop Doggy Dogg, that what he is….let him get in to you…” Ahhh, the Deathrow label. Experts at making crude choruses sound so darn catchy (shout-out to Nate Dogg on “Ain’t No Fun”).