Funk Can’t Be Described

 

Funk is hard to describe because it’s a feeling! Bass lines, loud horns, fused with a touch of Soul, Jazz and R&B over a syncopated beat definitely draws a crowd! With each artist placing their own twist to their song, it is sure to have you wanting more!  It is popular Black music which grew in the 1960s. The word “Funk” is communicated in so many different ways which artists bring these expressions to life with their music.  It can be a dance, a style of dress, used in phrases of communication and even a smell, but the music will always have you dancing!  

Although Funk has its own musical genre, it derived from other musical genres like Rhythm&Blues, Soul, Jazz and other other grooves of music that birthed it.  James Brown brought plenty of funk to his soulful sounds in 1965 with his song “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”. In 1971, his song titled “Make it Funky”, a two-part song that lasted almost thirteen minutes brought popularity to the Funk genre, reaching  number one on the R&B and US Charts.  There were other popular Funk artists that followed with different Funk styles such as Bootsy Collins, The Isley Brothers, Chaka Khan, Donna Summer, George Clinton, The Ojays, Kool & The Gang, The Dazz Band and The Zapp Band where Roger Troutman put a twist on his Funk sound using a voice box with his lyrics and computerized songs. Troutman’s multi-instrumental talents and musical genius gained high demand not only in the Funk era but Hip Hop as well.

The Life Of Funk

With new digital sounds, drum machines and other instruments, the sounds of funk was incredible.  However, what brought the songs to life was the  visual.  Live performances , with flashy outfits and creative choreography didn’t interfere with form which kept a crowd heightened. Bass drums and guitars were the heart of the songs with the keyboard and horns (trumpets, saxophone, trombones, etc.) bringing rising harmony to the lyrics. Because of the everlasting jams, most funk songs had to fade out instead of having and ending beat. It submerged into the Hip Hop to be called “G-Funk” with songs like “California Love” performed by the late rapper/actor Tupac, featuring Roger Troutman and “Today Was A Good Day” – Ice Cube.