WHAT THE FUNK???
WHAT THE FUNK???
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.
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":
Johnny "Guitar" Watson
Fred Wesley & The JB's
Sly and The Family Stone
Tower Of Power
Kool and The Gang (circa 1967-1976)
Archie Bell & the Drells
Let's not forget the ladies!!!!
Taste of Honey
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!"