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NPR Arts & Life

Black Thought Made You A James Brown Mixtape

Black Thought never met James Brown, but he did play Brown's saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis in the movie <em>Get On Up</em> last year.
Black Thought never met James Brown, but he did play Brown's saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis in the movie <em>Get On Up</em> last year.

Right before the 2014 release of the James Brown biopic Get On Up, producer J. Period and The Roots rapper Black Thought recorded an entire mixtape in one take. It functions like a documentary about the Godfather of Soul.

The performance focuses on the importance of Brown's breakbeats and samples to the history of hip-hop. "Had it not been for all of the breaks, I wouldn't be here where I am today — nor would The Roots," Black Thought (a.k.a. Tariq Trotter) tells NPR's Arun Rath.

Hear more of the conversation at the audio link.

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