OkayPlayer’s James Mtume Playlist

Musician, producer, singer/songwriter and activist James Mtume sadly passed away this week. While many know him for his band’s 1983 hit “Juicy Fruit”—which was famously sampled in Notorious BIG’s “Juicy”—Mtume was remarkably prolific far beyond and for many decades, oftentimes behind the scenes. He was a session player with Don Cherry and Herbie Hancock, rose to prominence as part of Miles Davis’ ensemble and, in the ’70s, leaned into funk and electronic music—forming the NYC-based band called Mtume. A master of slinky, infectious music, Mtume created “lush vocals, sleek harmonies and percussive piano chops,” says OkayPlayer. For their latest installation of In Hip-Hop and Beyond, OkayPlayer explores Mtume’s “sonic signature” and how it’s been utilized, built upon and reimagined by artists over three decades.