William “Earl” Bootsy Collins played bass for James Brown and Parliament-Funkadelic before forming his Bootsy’s Rubber Band in 1976. Collins and George Clinton co-produced their debut album Stretchin’ Out In Bootsy’s Rubber Band. They also shared writing duties on “I’d Rather Be With You” with Gary Cooper. The end result was a piece of funk history that revealed Collins’ importance to music outside of his previous roles with two of the most influential soul and funk bands. Collins’ endless riffs, cartoonish vocals and salacious double entendre with Gary Cooper’s raw belting were peerless. “I’d Rather Be With You” would prove itself to be a musical well for years to come. Beyoncé, Eazy E, and Childish Gambino are a few of the artists to sample Collins’ song through the years. The first three albums from his Rubber Band are recognized as essential funk classics in the world of music despite them not receiving any industry accolades. He is regarded as one of the most important bass players ever and has performed and recorded more than funk including electronic music, metal, dance music and rock. In 2019, Collins announced that he was retiring from performing live for health reasons. He most recently appeared on the Bruno Mars and anderson.paak 2021 Silk Sonic album. In 2022, he was the emcee for the 2022 World Games opening ceremony in Birmingham, Alabama.