Give It To Me Baby

Album: Street Songs (1981)
Charted: 47 40
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Songfacts®:

  • In this #1 R&B hit, Rick James comes home intoxicated and plead for some of that "funk that sweet that funky stuff." Her reply: "Say what?!"

    James explained: "I wrote it because I had come home one night and my old lady was in bed and I wanted to mess around, but I was too drunk. So I sat at the piano and wrote the song."
  • This was released as the first single from James' fifth album, Street Songs, beating out "Super Freak" for the honor. Like "Super Freak," it's the funky sound that carries the tune, and certainly not the message. James explained to Musician magazine, "'Give It To Me Baby' was another silly song. Matter of fact, most of my songs that are hit records are silly. Most of my serious stuff is stuck on albums."
  • Listen for the off-the-beat tom-tom drums in this song, which James overdubbed to create a distinctive track. James would create a "skeleton" of a song, then look for unusual elements to "color it."
  • The first music videos Rick James made were for "Give It To Me Baby" and "Super Freak." Both were directed by Nick Saxton, who had done Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" - he was one of only a handful of Americans with experience directing music videos.

    The "Give It To Me Baby" video is surprisingly literal, showing James making his play in the bedroom. It was not to be taken seriously. Saxton told Billboard: "The song is a sexy song and I think we treated it in a humorous way."

    By the time MTV launched on August 1, 1981, the song had already spent five weeks at #1 on the R&B chart and had recently peaked on the Pop chart, but there was no way it was getting airplay on the network, which fancied itself a rock channel and played almost nothing from black artists. "Super Freak" had a better chance of getting some spins, but MTV rejected that one too.
  • In the 2019 Netflix series Living With Yourself, the main characters have fond memories of doing a choreographed dance routine to this song at their wedding. When they hear the song, they feel compelled to do their dance.

    Other TV shows to use the song include:

    Pose ("Revelations" - 2019)
    Scandal ("Icarus" - 2013)
    Private Practice ("Serving Two Masters" - 2008)
    The Wire ("Margin of Error" - 2006)

    And in these movies:

    Think Like a Man Too (2014)
    Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (2011)
    Bride Wars (2009)
    Big Momma's House (2000)
    200 Cigarettes (1999)
    She's All That (1999)

Comments: 1

  • Kavin from IllinoisWho is the lady and what is her name, in this video give it to me baby?

    Love Rick James AKA James Johnson, Jr.
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