If you are a fan of hard funk, you adore Yvonne Fair. Starting her career in the 60s as a member of the Chantels and later with the James Brown Revue, Fair’s big break would come in 1969 when she signed with Motown. She recorded a duet with Marvin Gaye and dropped a string of funk singles in 1974 (“Love Ain’t No Toy,” “Walk Out the Door If You Wanna,” and “Funky Music Sho Nuff Turns Me On”). This lead to her 1975 debut The Bitch Is Black, which hit big in the UK with the Top 5 single “It Should Have Been Me.” It would unfortunately be her only Motown LP.
The Bitch Is Black would re-emerge amongst a new generation in late 90s on Jay-Z’s In My Lifetime Vol. 1 courtesy of Diddy’s in-house producers The Hitmen. Listening to the album track “Let Your Hair Down,” an early pause in Fair’s lyrics leaves a brief few seconds of music that are melodic and slightly ominous. Those few, seemingly inconsequential notes would transform into one of the best tracks off Vol. 1.
Jay-Z is rightly doing a lot of self-reflection and forward-thinking with the birth of his daughter Blue Ivy, but it’s always good to remember where he’s from.
YVONNE FAIR “LET YOUR HAIR DOWN” (SAMPLE AT :55 MARK)
JAY-Z “WHERE I’M FROM”