Beginning the Journey

Funk music is a mixture of soul, R&B, and a splash of jazz. This music evolved around the late 1960’s with a distinct, complex groove created by a multitude of instruments that create a hypnotic beat that makes one want to dance. This music included elements from previous genres such as narration and call and response but has it own style in lyrics and vocals with yells, melodic riffs, shouts, moans and hums. This music is often confused with disco but it is not the same, funk has a beat that’s a little slower and easier to dance on. Funk also has a syncopated rhythm along with personality added to the beat of the music.

At the forefront of funk music is James Brown and his band, bringing a downbeat, syncopated sound to the world. Brown focused on the first beat of every measure, staring his set by cuing the band with “The One”. From there many groups and solo artist took Brown’s innovative style and made it their own. Some famous funk composer consist of Parliament-Funkadelic, Chaka Khan, Labelle, Sly and the Family Stone, the Commodores, Teena Marie and many more.

Funk did not last long as its own genre; however, it did influence many genres to come and even some that had already existed. After the popularization of funk, rock music changed adding funk elements to their music to create a new subgenre entitled funk rock. Funk Rock included artist like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Prince, and their style influenced groups such as Outkast. Hip-hop artist began sampling funk music in their songs including songs from the great James Brown and Parliament. Some hip hop created an original beat and included funk elements in the beat such as the bass and guitar riffs.