I’M BLACK Y’ALL- AMERICAN MUSIC

Disclaimer *I am not an artist*

SOUL

For the soul portion of my piece, I referenced artists such as Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, and James Carr. These artists were major contributors to soul music. Some important record labels for the soul genre were Atlantic records and Motown records.

So What Makes Soul, Soul? 

After inducting performer Otis Redding into the Rock & Roll hall of fame, they stated that soul music is “music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of funky, secular testifying”.

FUNK

For the funk portion, I put the most influential artist of all time in bold, James Brown, even though he was the “king of soul”, his greates influence was on funk music. James Brown is considered to be the most sampled artists, with his music and voice being featured on a plethora of hip hop tracks. Other important funk artists I featured were Chaka Khan and George Clinton. Important instruments for funk music were the bass guitar, the drums, and keyboards to create the electric sound.

So What Makes Funk, Funky?

Funk is all about the downbeat, and the syncopation of each baseline. Really a fun, danceble mixture of jazz, soul, and r&b.

Detroit Techno

For this section, I highlighted artists such as Juan Atkins, Jeff Mills, and Kevin Saunderson. These artists were pioneers of the techno sound, and were responsible for some of the first ever techno productions. Techno was really booming during the 80’s and 90’s. Its sound really focused on “futurism” and plagued lots of populations to start dancing.

Garage House

Although we did not speak of Garage house in class, it was something I grew up on, that I believed should be incorporated in the techno portion. Garage house was founded in New Jersey and later migrated to parts of New York. It could be described as Techno dance music on top of an R&B sound. It was most prominent in the 80’s but still has a prominent sound in New Jersey clubs to this day. Important artists for this genre are Tony Humphries and Larry Levan.

R&B

The artists I incorporated for the R&B section of the piece were the incredibly gifted Quincy Jones, Janet Jackson, and Teddy Pendegrass. Ironically, each of these artists have their own very unique sound, but they all still fall under R&B. Instruments such as drums, keyboards, and even vocals were very important to the fundamentals of R&B.

What Makes it R&B?

According to Paul Gilroy in The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness, “R&B lyrical themes often encapsulate the African-American experience of pain and the quest for freedom and joy, as well as triumphs and failures in terms of relationships, economics, aspirations, and sex.” R&B sounds usually incorporated piano, guitars, bass, drums, saxophones, and often times background vocalists.

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Rick James Bibliography

Bibliography   James, Rick, and David Ritz. Glow : The Autobiography of Rick James. First Atria books hardcover edition. ed., Atria Books, 2014. James, Rick.

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