Skip to Content

What is Uptown Funk sampled from?

Mark Ronson’s hit single ‘Uptown Funk’ featuring Bruno Mars was a chart-topping success that dominated the airwaves in 2014. The infectious and upbeat track boasts an energetic horn section, soulful vocals, and a killer bassline that just begs you to dance. However, fans of funk and R&B may recognize some familiar sounds in the track’s instrumentation and melody. That’s because ‘Uptown Funk’ is heavily sampled from a classic funk track that you may have heard before.

The Sample

The sample used in ‘Uptown Funk’ is taken from The Gap Band’s 1979 hit ‘I Don’t Believe You Want to Get Up and Dance (Oops!)’. The Gap Band was a hugely popular band in the late 70s and 80s, known for their funk and R&B sound that was heavily influenced by the likes of James Brown and Parliament Funkadelic. ‘Oops Upside Your Head’ was one of their biggest hits and featured their signature sound of horns, groovy bass, and catchy vocal hooks.

Mark Ronson, a British musician and producer, has been open about his love for funk music and its influence on his work. Ronson has stated that he was inspired by the ‘Oops’ beat when he first heard it as a child. His tribute to The Gap Band was to use a similar chord progression, melody, and even the song’s famous chant in ‘Uptown Funk’. But Ronson added his own modern touch by layering in electronic instruments and drums to create a more contemporary sound.

The Impact

The success of ‘Uptown Funk’ was not only due to its catchy melody and energetic groove but also its strategic use of the sample from The Gap Band. The catchy chorus, “Don’t believe me, just watch,” which is repeated throughout the song, became a viral sensation and was used in various social media challenges and dance videos.

The use of sampling has been around for decades in the music industry, allowing artists to pay homage to their inspirations, and creating a sense of familiarity and nostalgia among listeners. ‘Uptown Funk’ is an excellent example of how a sample can be used creatively and respectfully, paying homage to a classic track, while still being wholly original.

The Controversy

While sampling has been a creative tool for generations of musicians, it has also raised questions about artistic ownership and copyright infringement. In some cases, samples have led to legal disputes and costly lawsuits. The use of the ‘Oops Upside Your Head’ chant in ‘Uptown Funk’ led to The Gap Band members, Ronnie Wilson, and Robert Wilson, and producer Lonnie Simmons being added to the song’s songwriting credits.

The debate over the use of samples in creative works remains contentious, with some arguing that sampling takes away from the original artist’s work and profit. Others argue that sampling is a form of art in itself, allowing for the creation of hybrid works that push the boundaries of what is possible in music.


‘Uptown Funk’ sample of The Gap Band’s ‘I Don’t Believe You Want to Get Up and Dance (Oops!) proves the timelessness of funk music, with both songs having massive success decades apart. The use of The Gap Band’s sample in ‘Uptown Funk’ was not only a nod to the band’s tremendous influence in the R&B and funk genres, but it also became a cultural phenomenon in its own right. As the music industry continues to evolve, the use of sampling will undoubtedly continue to be a popular tool for artists to create new and exciting works while paying tribute to musical legends that came before them.


Is Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars hip hop?

“Uptown Funk” is a chart-topping song by American singer-songwriter Bruno Mars. Even though it incorporates elements of funk, R&B, and hip-hop, the song is not considered a solely hip-hop track. While the lines between musical genres can be blurry, “Uptown Funk” has a much stronger funk influence than it does a hip-hop one.

To break it down, hip-hop is a music genre that originated in African American and Latinx communities in the Bronx, New York City in the 1970s. It is primarily characterized by its rhythm, beats, rhyme patterns, and lyrics. Hip-hop places heavy emphasis on verbal wordplay, sampling, and turntablism.

On the other hand, funk is a genre of music that originated in African American communities during the late 1960s and early ’70s. Funk music emphasizes strong, danceable grooves rooted in R&B and soul music. It also incorporates elements of jazz, rock and roll, and psychedelic music.

When listening to “Uptown Funk,” it’s clear that the song is heavily influenced by funk music styles. The song’s bassline, guitar, and percussion, as well as Mars’ vocal performance, all draw from classic funk elements. The track also incorporates a straightforward drum pattern and vocally driven chorus, more commonly associated with pop music.

While “Uptown Funk” does contain some elements of hip-hop, they are much subtler than the song’s funk influences. A few hip-hop-influenced lines can be heard in the song, but they are minimal. Additionally, the song’s structure contains more emphasis on the chorus, with the verses serving as a setup for the catchy hook, which is less typical of a hip-hop track.

While “Uptown Funk” borrows from several music genres, it is primarily a funk tune. The song’s massive success is a testament to Mars’ ability to seamlessly blend a variety of influences together to create a hit.