The Payback (song)
|"The Payback – Part I"|
|Single by James Brown|
|from the album The Payback|
|B-side||"The Payback – Part II"|
|James Brown charting singles chronology|
"The Payback" is a funk song by James Brown, the title track from his 1973 album of the same name. The song's lyrics, originally written by trombonist and bandleader Fred Wesley but heavily revised by Brown himself soon before it was recorded, concern the revenge he plans to take against a man who betrayed him. The song is notable for its spare, open arrangement and its use of wah-wah guitar – a relative rarity in Brown's previous funk recordings. Released as a two-part single (featuring a radio announcer at the beginning of part one) in February 1974, it was the first in an unbroken succession of three singles by Brown to reach #1 on the R&B charts that year – the last chart-toppers of his career. It also peaked at number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was his second, and final, single to be certified gold by the RIAA.
The song and the album of the same name were originally recorded by Brown as the accompanying soundtrack to the blaxploitation film Hell Up in Harlem (1973), but was rejected by the movie's producers as "the same old James Brown stuff." An incensed Brown decided to release the album and let it stand on its own merits. The subsequent soundtrack was then recorded by Motown Records artist Edwin Starr. Later, Brown recorded "Rapp Payback (Where Iz Moses)", a reworking of "The Payback", in 1980. It was also remade in 1988, remixed and released as "The Payback Mix (Part One)" in the United Kingdom. This version was one of Brown's biggest hits in the UK, reaching #12 on the UK singles chart.
"The Payback" song has been sampled by many musical artists, including numerous hip hop and R&B producers. The group En Vogue recorded two different R&B hits, "Hold On" and "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)", that were both based on loops from the song's rhythm track. LL Cool J sampled "The Payback" in his 1990 song "The Booming System". Guy used the enthusiastic whoops for Dog Me Outin 1991. Mary J. Blige sampled the song for her 1997 hit "Everything". The group Total (featuring Notorious BIG) sampled the song in their 1995 hit "Can't You See". Keith Sweat's group Silk, in the song "Happy Days" sampled "The Payback" from their 1992 debut album, Lose Control, which was produced by Sweat and featured on the track. Big Black released a loose cover of the song on their 1984 Racer-X EP. Massive Attack also sampled the song on their track "Protection" from the 1995 album of the same name. Eboni Foster sampled the song on the single, "Crazy for You" in 1998. Rapper Kendrick Lamar used elements of the song on his 2015 track "King Kunta". Also sampled in Compton's Most Wanted's "Final Chapter" off of the album Straight Check'n Em.
Appearances in other media
- The song was used tn the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas soundtrack on the Rare groove radio station Master Sounds 98.3.
- The song was used in the Guy Ritchie film Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels.
- The song was used on the original soundtrack album for When We Were Kings (1997)
- The song was used in the 2001 Jesse Dylan film How High.
- The song was used in the 2002 Mars Callahan film Poolhall Junkies.
- A sample of the song is used in the theme for ESPN's NBA Countdown.
- The song was used in a season two episode of Everybody Hates Chris.
- The song was used in season three of The Wire, the song is playing in the poolhall that the deacon frequents, when Cutty comes to him to discuss the boxing gym.
- The song was used in the Hughes Brothers film Dead Presidents.
- The song was used in season three episode 10 of The Blacklist.
- The song was used in the first-season finale of the FX television show Damages.
- The song was used in an episode of Scrubs, during one of J.D.'s fantasies about how cool it is to enter the hospital as a surgeon.
- The song was used in the movie Hollywood Shuffle, the melody of the song is used during the dress rehearsal of the movie "Jivetime Jimmy's Revenge" – the movie in which Bobby (Robert Townsend) won the lead role as "Jimmy." Jimmy also uses the lyrics "I'm mad, I want revenge" when his brother dies in his arms.
- The song is used in many professional boxing ring entrances, but most notably used by Lennox Lewis during the ringwalk prior to his heavyweight championship rematch with Hasim Rahman in 2001, which Lewis won by knockout.
- The song was used in an episode of The Bernie Mac Show.
- The song was used in the television show The Cleveland Show in the episode entitled "The Curious Case of Jr. Working at The Stool".
- In May 1995, the song was featured prominently in the opening scene of "Catman Comes Back", the first-season finale of the FOX police drama television series New York Undercover.
- The song was used in the 2012 Quentin Tarantino film Django Unchained, the songs was remixed in a mashup with the 2Pac song "Untouchable".
- The lyrics "I don't know karate, but I know crazy" was used by Magneto in the 2014 Bryan Singer film X-Men: Days of Future Past.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 85.
- White, Cliff (1991). "Discography". In Star Time (pp. 54–59) [CD booklet]. New York: PolyGram Records.
- Bloom, Steve. "Anything Left in Papa's Bag?" Down Beat September 1, 1980. Rpt. in The James Brown Reader: Fifty Years of Writing About the Godfather of Soul. Ed. Nelson George and Alan Leeds. New York: Plume, 2008. 160-170.
- Smith, RJ. The One: The Life and Music of James Brown, 290. New York: Gotham Books, 2012.
- Natalie Chaidez (writer); Frederick King Keller (director) (1995-05-11). "Catman Comes Back". New York Undercover. Season 1. Episode 26. FOX.