Headhunters – God Made Me Funky

8th October 2023 · 1970s, 1975, Funk, Jazz, Music

I never heard this when it came out back in 1975 – I was listening to Wish You Were Here until Horses came along – but I’ve heard that drum break sampled dozens of times in hip hop and house tunes since then.

There’s much more to it than the breakbeat though: firstly, that funky bassline, and the sinuous sax solo that threads through the middle section before going jazzily bonkers.

And also the backing vocals by The Pointer Sisters, insistently reminding us: “Anything you want” before slipping into the song’s mantra: “God made me funky.”

The Headhunters were a jazz-funk group who started out as Herbie Hancock’s band in 1973, when he decided to disband his previous outfit Mwandishi for something funkier. Her certainly got that.

Members included the splendidly named guitarist Blackbyrd McKnight, who went on to spend a decade with Parliament-Funkadelic before brief stints with Miles Davis and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The others were drummer Mike Clark – he of that​ drum break – and bassist Paul Jackson, plus Mwandishi’s sole survivor Bennie Maupin on sax and all sorts of other brass instruments, and percussionist Bill Summers.

And at the same time as the hip hop community were sampling the drums – it’s been on more than 300 different tracks by artists ranging from Nas to NWA, De La Soul to Digable Planets – house producers were doing their own thing with it.