Overpowered By Funk

Album: Combat Rock (1982)

Songfacts®:

  • This song was written at the Ear Studios rehearsals in September 1981, and recorded in the Electric Lady studios in December 1981, featuring additional instrumentation in the form of keyboards by Poly Mandell and a rap section by Futura 2000, graffiti artist and friend of the band. He had toured with the band for the previous two years, spray-painting a graffiti stage backdrop whilst the band played, and joining them live onstage for an improvised rap song once he had finished his work. He even references his graffiti work on the New York subway trains in his rap ("The T.A. blew forty mil they say, we threw down by night, they scrubbed it off by day").

    There are rumors that Futura 2000 recorded a standalone track, "The Escapades of Futura 2000" in these sessions too, but if he did it has never been released.
  • "Overpowered By Funk" is very much a continuation of the themes and musical styles first experimented with on "The Magnificent Seven." It is a heavy funk track with freeform lyrics referencing capitalism ("Don't you love our Western ways?"), the Vietnam War ("Home for the floating people? Skin for the napalm victim?"), capital punishment ("Fry me in your shockin' chairs") and even using the funk genre of music to represent the repetitive boredom of being stuck in a dead-end job ("Combative, repetitive, don't life just funk you out?"). It also includes subtle references to Tarzan and Benny Goodman.
  • Like "The Magnificent Seven," this song was remixed multiple times by rap radio stations in New York, and a bootleg exists of an extended six-minute-plus instrumental remix of the song.
  • This was only played by The Clash a handful of times - in their Paris residency in September 1981- before being dropped again. Presumably with "The Magnificent Seven" still being a massive fan favorite in The Clash's set, there wasn't room for another rap/funk song with lengthy instrumental sections and improv lyrics.

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