Funk is one of fundamental music styles of African-American music. The term means a music direction that contains of soul music and R&B. Its formation started in the 60s as the answer to the commercialization of rhythm & blues. The founders of this style were James Brown, George Clinton, and Sly Stone.
Birth: 1963 Bloom: 1975
The word funk came from slang; it means to dance until you are sweaty. The word «funk» («Get funk!, Get funky!») has been used by jazzmen since the beginning of the XX century. Later, the word funk was assigned to the style that considered to be the most dance style among other R&B styles.
First of all, funk is dance music that has characteristic features: all instruments are syncopated (syncopated bass is called «funky»), a throbbing rhythm, screaming vocals, multiple repeats of short melodies. Larry Graham is said to be a creator of slap that became distinctive funk element. Funk guitarists play in rhythmic style and often use the sound effect wah-wah. «Dead» or muted notes are often used in riffs in order to strengthen slap. Jimi Hendrix is considered to be a pioneer of funk-rock.
Funk emerged in the mid-60s in the USA as modified and weighted soul. James Brown, the founder and godfather of funk, began his career as a singer of soul music and R&B. His songs are said to be the first funk records – «Papa`s Got a Brand New Bag» and «Funky Drummer» of 1965. Generally, funk was a sort of entertaining music («In the Midnight Hour» and «Funky Broadway by Wilson Pickett), but also funk has got some political overtones in the context of the movement for the rights of African American.
Classic funk records were made at the turn of the 60s and 70s, when not only James Brown and George Clinton but also bands such as Sly & the Family Stone and Earth, Wind & Fire became popular. At that time funk influenced rock and jazz giving a birth to new transitional styles. Alternative rock music also was influenced by funk (Talking Heads, Minutemen). In the 70s Herbie Hancock was one of the creators and artists of electro-funk, he also contributed to the development of this style. Funk had a great impact on the `90s rock music due to musicians such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Primus, Jamiroquai, Beastie Boys, and Spin Doctors. In the 1980s Michael Jackson and Prince gained recognition in global pop-music.
In the 1980s funk samples were used in hip-hop; this tradition was continued in the 2000s by influential producers like The Neptunes.
Also read: Baile Funk, Funky House, Funky Breaks
Got something to add? Please!