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Updated on January 17, 2012


What is Funk to you? Is it a stinky, musty odor? One that you would rather not be around; one that you would not want in your house? One that you would spray with Febreze, Oust, Glade or something like that?

What is a funky person? One who never bathes, but needs to? One with a nasty attitude? Would you let this person visit your home or ride with you to work? Would you tell this person "You Funky!!!"; If you did, should this person be insulted?

The original definition of funk was a musty odor. Then an amendment was added. This amendment defined funk as the smell of sex, or the smell of a room after sex had been performed. This made the word funk offensive.

But then.............

A mass explosion of funk hit somewhere in the mid 60's. But this was good funk. Some were still offended, but this was more than a smell or sex. Hell, this could create an odor- even sex!!! I'm talking about THE FUNK!!!!!

It's the reason why you bob your head up and down or back and forth when a groove hits you hard. It's the reason why you walk with a swagger and possess that "funky" attitude. It is to always be respected, never rejected. Wherever you are in life, no matter how sophisticated you "think" you are; you cannot deny the FUNK.

It cheers you up, it makes you think. It reminds you of who you are. And if you leave it, it doesn't worry; because you'll be back!! HA HA HA! The funk is real!!!!

I believe it started with a man of many names, but known mostly as James Brown. You see, he got tired of the boom-clack beat that most R&B or rock and roll practitioners used and decided to created music "on the 1" instead of the "4". (If you don't know what I mean, listen to James Brown's music and compare it to the music of The Beatles, or Elvis; or Motown and any early 60's & 50's music. You will notice a distinct difference in the drum beats).

And from "Cold Sweat" (1967, James Brown) funk was born!!!!! After its birth, it gave birth to many others. To name a few, (and I do mean a few) it gave birth to: Sly and The Family Stone, Issac Hayes, BT Express, Parliament/Funkadelic; Bootsy's (who played with JB) Rubber Band, The JB's, Prince- and many, many others!!!

Their funk passed on to many other artists as well as many other genres. Funk can now be found in gospel (they'll never admit it!) Kirk Franklin, Mary/Mary , Marvin Sapp, Hezekiah Walker- to name a few.

Rock/alternative: Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Papa Roach, Alanis Morrisette and many more (more recent ones too, but I'll admit I don't keep up with rock too much).

Country, Jazz (Jazz has always been funky; in fact, it was Miles Davis' "So What" that encouraged James Brown's "Cold Sweat". If you listen to both, you will find many similarities).

Every time you hear a bass line and a rhythm that shakes the ground, that's funk doin it or giving birth once again. In fact, if you're my age (30+), give or take 10 years, you are most likely a product of the funk!!!!!

It's not a black thing any more!!! It IS ours though. I can't speak for all black folks, but I'm proud of the funk!!!! I expose my kids to it! So when they are listening to Lil' Wayne, Soulja Boy, Lil' John and Lil- whoever else; they'll know where that track came from.

I grew up during the emergence of hip-hop. I love REAL hip-hop!!! But it would not exist without the FUNK.

So what have you learned here? Funk is not just a smell; It is not offensive!!!! It gives life to a gray world and it picks up where "just plain music" left off. It's a part of you whether you'd like to admit it or not. It will also be a part of your kids. Respect it!!!! Do not condone people who contaminate it (I won't name names!!!), and appreciate it!!!!!!!!

Peace to all the "True Funk Soldiers":

James Brown

Bobby Byrd

Maceo Parker

Johnny "Guitar" Watson

Fred Wesley & The JB's

Sly and The Family Stone

Tower Of Power

Kool and The Gang (circa 1967-1976)

Parliament/ Funkadelic

Bootsy Collins

Archie Bell & the Drells


Isaac Hayes

Stax Records

Motown Records

Rick James

BT Express

Undisputed Truth

Soul Children

New Birth

Let's not forget the ladies!!!!

Chaka Khan

Lydia Pense

Taste of Honey

Marva Whitney

Lynn Collins

Erykah Badu

Aretha Franklin

And much too many to name them all. All who contributed, and all who still contribute to the funk; keep funkin!

In the elaborate words of funkateer George Clinton:
"Free your mind, and yo ass will follow!"


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    • DJ Funktual profile image

      DJ Funktual 5 years ago from One Nation Under a Groove

      DJ Funktual was here.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 8 years ago from California

      Prince definitely has ability - I'll give him that. Cool? Anyway, it's a pleasure to meet somebody who loves funk and knows a lot about it. Later!

    • Wyldflow3r profile image

      Wyldflow3r 8 years ago

      Okay Kosmo, I am a DIE HARD PRINCE FAN!!! Kenny G of funk? That was just MEAN!!!

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 8 years ago from California

      You made the changes! I love it! And thanks for not emphasizing Prince, the Kenny G of funk. I'm just sayin'! Later!

    • Wyldflow3r profile image

      Wyldflow3r 8 years ago

      YOU were right about Tower Of Power. I added them. I also added Kool and The Gang, but only circa 1967 to 1976, they went south after J.T. joined....

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 8 years ago from California

      What?! You didn't mention Tower of Power???? I didn't see any Kool and the Gang either. Serious oversight, babe. Go ahead, do a little editing and I'll come back later. Ha! At least you mentioned the Godfather of Soul, doing it on the "one." By the way, I remember when it was pronounced "fonk." Later!