By: Nyla Griffith

Inspired by R&B and jazz music, funk music emerged in the United States around the 1960s and became popular. It was known for its upbeat nature and as the main form of dance music in the time period. The key element that made funk music special was its focus on the “rhythm of one” and syncopation on the off-beat. By doing this, artists created a “groovy” rhythm that was easy and fun to dance to.

Funk music made its way to the mainstream by the popular artist James Brown who made a song called “I’m Black and I’m Proud”. This was a part of the movement called the Black Power Movement. In this time, black artists used their music to communicate with the community their black pride. 

The genre became a storytelling genre and artists used it to further unify black people. Funk music also included various sounds and arrangements such as jazz solos, improvisation, strong beats, and soul vocal styles. 

Funk music continued to grow throughout the 60s, the 70s and the 80s, but in the 90s, as per usual, other races began to make their input into black music. At this time, funk music began to evolve into more genres like Hip-Hop and Disco music. 

Popular Funk Artists include: 

    • James Brown
    • Sly and the Family Stone
    • Earth, Wind, and Fire
    • George Clinton/ Parliment Funkadelic
    • Curtis Mayfield
    • Stevie Wonder
    • Isley Brother
    • Kool & The Gang
    • Rick James
    • Isaac Hayes

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