The impact of James Mtume’s music on the hip-hop community is undeniable.
As a Grammy-winning musician and producer, he crafted unforgettable melodies that continue to inspire generations of artists.
His influence can be heard in the works of several hip-hop legends, such as The Notorious B.I.G., who famously sampled Mtume’s “Juicy Fruit” in his iconic track “Juicy.”
Other artists like Mary J. Blige, Nas, and Keyshia Cole have also drawn from his rich musical catalog, further cementing his status as a pillar of the industry.
In recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the world of music, the City of Philadelphia is set to honor Mtume with a street-naming ceremony on May 12th, 2023.
The event will take place from 11 am to 2 pm ET on the 1500 block of Wharton Street, a location that holds deep significance for the late artist, as it marks the beginning of his journey into music, social activism, and politics.
The street-naming ceremony is organized by Philadelphia’s Second District, which is represented by Councilperson Kenyatta Johnson. Johnson, who has been serving the area since 2012, expressed his pride in honoring the musical legend and Philly native.
Faulu Mtume, son of the late James Mtume, expressed gratitude for the honor bestowed upon his father’s estate.
He shared his appreciation for the city’s acknowledgment of his father’s impact, stating, “It’s beyond words just how great this is, the City of Brotherly Love showing a mighty love for my father, a Philly native.”
James Mtume’s storied career began in jazz, playing alongside legends like Miles Davis and his father, saxophonist Jimmy Heath.
He later formed a fruitful partnership with songwriter and producer Reggie Lucas, creating hits for renowned artists such as Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway, Phyllis Hyman, and Stephanie Mills. His work extended to film and television soundtracks, including the movie “Native Son” and the TV series “New York Undercover.”
Mtume also co-hosted the New York City-based talk radio series, Open Line.
Sadly, James Mtume passed away on January 9th, 2022, after a battle with cancer.
He was 75 years old. The street-naming ceremony serves as a fitting tribute to a man whose musical genius and influence continue to reverberate through the industry.
James Mtume’s music has inspired a wide array of hip-hop artists, who have sampled his work to create their own unique sound. The following isna short list of artists who have incorporated Mtume’s music into their tracks:
The Notorious B.I.G. – “Juicy”
Mary J. Blige – “You Remind Me”
Nas – “It Ain’t Hard to Tell”
Keyshia Cole – “Take Me Away”
Common – “Charms Alarm”
Aaliyah – “At Your Best (You Are Love) (Remix)”
Ja Rule – “Mesmerize”
Tupac Shakur – “Temptations”
Public Enemy – “Anti-N##### Machine”
Warren G – “You Don’t See”
Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth – “It’s Not a Game”
LL Cool J – “Around the Way Girl”
Mariah Carey – “Honey”
Big Daddy Kane – “Smooth Operator”
J. Cole – “Cole Summer”
Erykah Badu – “Back in the Day (Puff)”
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – “Just Cruisin'”