n 1986, he was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And rap stars of recent years overwhelmingly have borrowed his lyrics with a digital technique called sampling. His work has been replayed by the Fat Boys, Ice-T, Public Enemy and a host of other rappers. “The music out there is only as good as my last record,” Brown joked in a 1989 interview with Rolling Stone magazine.”Disco is James Brown, hip-hop is James Brown, rap is James Brown; you know what I’m saying? You hear all the rappers, 90 percent of their music is me,” he told the AP in 2003.
Born in poverty in Barnwell, South Carolina, in 1933, he was abandoned as a 4-year-old to the care of relatives and friends and grew up on the streets of Augusta, Georgia, in an “ill-repute area,” as he once called it. There he learned to wheel and deal.
“I wanted to be somebody,” Brown said.