Funk is a music genre that is said to have originated in 1960's America. True to Prince's word, it really isn't something that could be captured within one simple description. You can't just say, "Well yeah, it sounds really.....funky." Well, duh. If you really want to put a label on it, it's universally known as a genre that is a collection of groovy, rhythmic music - the lovechild of soul, blues, and jazz, but just like any other music genre, it branches out to so much more than that.
These sub-genres and roots of funk were more than just music. They are said to be the voices of the inner and middle class citizens during that era. African-Americans were the pioneers in this well-loved musical movement. It was a mix of other music that they also pioneered, which was R&B, soul, and jazz. The origin of the word is quite strange. People in the early 1900's would say during jam sessions, "Now put some stank on it!" and stank is closely related to the word funky, which both means bad odor. Then words funky and funk started to be common in jazz and jazz was one of the influences of funk music.
James Brown, known by many as the "Godfather of Soul" was undoubtedly a huge inspiration and prominent figure in the music scene. The legend grew up in poverty and worked his way up to the top, journeying through a tough personal life. His unique style influenced many more icons such as Michael Jackson and Prince. Check out this video of the so-called "Holy Trinity" performing together in 1983.
Aaaand it seems as though funk has made a comeback. We know exactly what song you're thinking about right now --
- That Girl by Justin Timberlake
- Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke, featuring Pharrell Williams
- Treasure by Bruno Mars
- Get Lucky by Daft Punk, featuring Pharrell Williams
- Happy by Pharrell Williams
- Forget You by Cee Lo Green
- Ain't No Other Man by Christina Aguilera
And the list goes on. Maybe you're familiar with American pop rock band, Maroon 5's electro-funk album entitled It Won't Be Soon Before Long (2007). The original funk sound may not have been retained in terms of vocals, but the rhythm's definitely still there. Go ahead, try singing the guitar riffs from Makes Me Wonder in your head. It seems as though with the fact that funk has quite an influential hold on a lot of new age music, reinterpretations like these appear to be a thing of enjoyment.
- Nikki Alarilla
click photos for sources
Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6