Play That Funky Music!!

Music continues to evolve as time passes by, creating new sounds as popular trends arise throughout the years. Funk, a rhythmic musical genre which arose in the late 70s early 80s, did exactly this by implementing jazz along with rhythm and blues in order to make a unique and popular sound. However, the question that should be asked is…

How is Funk different compared to any other genre that we have seen today?

Funk is different from any other genre of music because of its major influence on the dance culture in the black community, unique melodies that defined the genre as a whole, and the impact during a transitional period in the black community in America.


Funk Music can be described as a style of urban dance music.  The style of funk music put emphasis on aggressive rhythm and groove that was achieved with the heavy use of the bass and drums. The use of the bass in funk music is very apparent because of the common use of high note rhythms and slap style playing.  Guitar players would use elaborate jazz chords in a combination with quick and tedious strumming patterns.  A variety of other genres at the time relied more on vocals, melodies, and piano chords.  This is what makes the overall sound of funk different from other genres.

One of the most influential faces during this time was Icon James Brown.  James Brown was known as the King of Funk in the 1960s. He used the funk sound in conjunction with his unique vocal style. His popularity and talent soon influenced many other artists that came thereafter. Some of his popular singles include, “It’s a Man’s Man’s World” and “Papa’s Got a Brand-New Bag”.

The Funk genre was all about expression of the black experience. Therefore, the genre brought upon a new culture of fashion and dress amongst the African American Community. Afros were something commonly worn amongst black people along with vibrant colors of clothing including wide flared pants and hats. This brought upon unity in the black community as this new culture arose.  The unique dress and dancing music created a type of ambiance that changed the black community in a way that no other genre had before.

Artist such as Parliament-Funkadelic and the Temptations explored the funk sound and the genre soon established a means of personal liberation and self-expression.  This alone is what makes the funk genre stand out from other genres. Funk soon became the musical standard and the genre began to be mixed with other styles.  Funk mixed with hip-hop soon became a culture in itself. Overall funk set the standard for proceeding dance and pop music that erupted in the 90s and 2000s.  With all of this in mind, it is safe to say that funk had a major impact and influence not only on the people who listened during its popularity, but also to future artists. who continue to use its unique style in genres such as hip-hop and pop.

Parliament-Funkadelic in 1970s

Funk heard in 2010s Pop Music

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