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R.I.P. Jazz and R&B Artist, Musician and Producer James Mtume, 76

Written by Good Black News

January 11, 2022

James Mtume, recording artist, musician and one of the most innovative producers of R&B in the 1970s and 1980s, passed away on January 9. He was 76.

Philadelphia native Mtume is perhaps best known for his 1983 hit single “Juicy Fruit” which became even more well known when sampled in 1994 in Notorious B.I.G.’s signature hip hop single “Juicy.”

Mtume began his professional career playing percussion with Miles Davis’ electric band in the 1970s. Multi-instrumentalist Mtume brought his jazz chops to R&B when he later wrote and produced songs for Roberta Flack, Donny Hathaway, Stephanie Mills and others.

To quote from Los Angeles Times:

Described in the artist’s words as “sophistifunk,” Mtume’s sleek yet finely detailed music layered lush, jazz-inspired chord arrangements over uncluttered post-disco grooves that could make slow jams feel like club tracks and make club tracks feel like slow jams.

“Juicy Fruit,” with a stuttering drum-machine beat and a risqué lyric suggesting the pleasures of oral sex, spent eight weeks atop Billboard’s R&B chart (and led, Mtume said, to a legal inquiry from the Wrigley gum company).

Mtume’s survivors include his wife, Kamili; his brother, Jeffrey Forman; two sons, four daughters and six grandchildren.

Read more:

Original article source: | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council

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