4Ever Song: Tom Browne ‘Funkin’ for Jamaica’

In 1980, one of the most successful R&B albums of the year was trumpeter Tom Browne‘s Love Approach as it peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard Top Album Charts in November of 1980. The single Funkin’ for Jamaica was number one on the R&B charts for four weeks and has been sampled numerous times over the years by rappers and others in digital music.

For many that heard Funkin’ for Jamaica in the ’80s, the details of the song were often misunderstood. Many thought the lyrics of the song were about the Caribbean country of Jamaica, when the song was Browne’s tribute to his ethnic-diverse neighborhood of Jamaica in the borough of Queens, New York City. Others also thought the female voice on the record was Chaka Kahn, but the powerhouse vocals are actually supplied by Toni Smith, who also wrote the lyrics.

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