Funk Fridays: Rick James – "Give It To Me Baby"

Funk Friday, Rick James

Yes, I’m aware it’s not Friday but…”Never mind what you thought it was…It’s Rick James, bitch!”

For fans of the Chapelle Show, the name Rick James conjures up images of high heels on couches, excessive drug-taking and beds full of 10 women at a time. And while that probably isn’t too far from the truth, let’s try and remember Rick for the thing that matters. No, not his illustrious hair (which could probably be a post in itself) but the music.

Rick James was one of those artists that wasn’t afraid to take risks. His style was funk infused with rock and his fashion was pure flamboyance. “Give It To Me Baby” and the accompanying video embody those elements, especially the sheer campery of the last few scenes and Rick in his speedos cavorting with his conquest. How many stars would do that in a video now??

This track is personified by the infectious bassline that is ever present through the song and the chorus is simple but straight to the point.

As far as samples go, this song hasn’t been as blatantly ripped off as you would have thought but notable samples include:

  • Jay-Z – “I Just Wanna Love You (Give It 2 Me) – Not so much in the instrumentation but the chorus lifts from the Rick James classic.
  • MC Hammer – ““Yo Sweetness” – The man and the legend, MC Hammer appreciated real music and looped Rick James’ vocals in the chorus once again. They need to drop this song in a club. Like now. (bonus points to MC Hammer for sampling it again on an earlier track “Let’s Get It Started”)