Dubbed the "Female Preacher," Lyn Collins lived up to that name through her fiery vocals. Part funk, part revival, "Think (About It)" remains one of the most sampled songs in hip hop, and her famous lines "It takes two to make a thing go right / It takes two to make it out of sight" have graced innumerable modern tracks. Appropriately, Collins counted another frequently sampled artists as her mentor: James Brown.
Born in Abilene, Texas, Collins began singing as a teenager. After marrying the man who served as the local promoter for the James Brown Revue, she sent a demo tape to the Godfather of Soul. While there were no openings in his act in 1970, Brown still invited her to Georgia for a recording session. A spot finally opened in 1972, so Collins officially joined the James Brown Revue. At the same time, Brown produced her self-written song "Think (About It)," featuring Brown's backing band the J.B.'s. Released on Brown's People Records label, the song became an instant hit on the R&B charts, peaking at number nine. Her subsequent album also sold well, making her the most commercially successful of Brown's female proteges.
Throughout the 1970s she continued recording solo albums as well as performing with Brown's revue, eventually transitioning into an in-demand session vocalist. Meanwhile, funk-loving hip hop, rap, and dance artists discovered "Think (About It)" while rooting through groove-heavy R&B tracks for inspiration. Along with its driving beat and "it takes two" refrain, the scream accompanying the beats ("Yeah! Woo!") became a go-to sample to add excitement.
Collins assumes her "Female Preacher" persona by fervently addressing the men in the audience. Speaking for her female listeners, she speaks to "Those of you who go out and stay / Out all night and half the next day," and proclaims that "The sisters are not going for that no more / Cause we realize two things / That you aren't doing anything for us / We can do better by ourselves." She states that women will use "what we got to get what we want," singing the last line to formally begin the song: "you'd better think." This last line echoes Aretha Franklin's "Think," a thematically similar track.
The famous "it takes two" lines occur toward the middle of "Think (About It)," where Collins challenges the male audience to make their relationships work. "Don't say it's easy / Just plain living / Sometimes it's kinda tough," she sings. Her oration/song concludes with her arguing that her man must think of her needs as much as his own. It's a universal message that obviously struck a chord with women, yet its relentlessly funky beat still drew in men. A healthy dose of Brown's interjections, particularly the "yeah, woo!" exclamations, put his distinctive stamp on the production.
Highly danceable yet unapologetically feminist, "Think (About It)" exceeded its '70s popularly thanks to 80s and 90s hip hop artists. Until her 2005 death, Collins won over generations of new fans through new dance recordings and international tours.
The following list includes some of the most well-known tracks to sample "Think (About It):
Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock - "It Takes Two" (1988)
Kid N Play - "Do This My Way" (1988)
Roxanne Shante - "Go On Girl" (1989)
Janet Jackson - "Alright" (1990)
Tony! Toni! Toné - "Feels Good" (1990)
Tara Kemp - "Hold You Tight" (1990)
Right Said Fred - "I'm Too Sexy" (1991)
Boyz II Men - "Motownphilly" (1991)
C&C Music Factory - "Just A Touch of Love" (1991)
PM Dawn - "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" (1993)