Category Archives: music

No, children, Bruno Mars did not invent funk music


You know, I don’t often feel like there’s this enormous generational gap, but when people talking about “Men’z Night” apparently know of only one funk musician, that honestly troubles me. (And don’t get me started on the “Bruno Mars + Daft Punk” thing–kids, you do realize that Daft Punk is retro, correct? They’re like, Daft Punk, The Retro Music Group. It’s their mission statement or something.)

So, I figured I’d do a little musical tour of the world of funk. Most of these songs came out before Bruno Mars was even born–OMFG!!!! And if you like Bruno Mars, you’re about to get very happy!

Begin at the beginning: This is why James Brown is famous.

Sly Stone was another pioneer. (Yes, he’s probably high.)

This is not Bruno Mars + Daft Punk. Nor is it ripped off from Snoop Dogg (many hip-hop artists sample funk songs!). It is George Clinton–this is a later song of his but Clinton kind of rounds out the trifecta of Funk’s Founding Fathers. (ETA: RC in the comments made me feel remiss about not including the older “Flashlight,” so check that one out; like “Atomic Dog,” you’ve heard it even if you haven’t.)

The Gap Band! This is the first funk song I remember hearing on the radio! Check out them spangles! No, seriously, take careful note–disco and funk were popular at around the same time, so there was a lot of overlap. Also, note the cowboy hats and truly awesome fringe. (They were from Tusla.)

Can’t leave out Rick James!

Remember way back to last year, children, when some guy named Prince (or maybe something else, that was a little confusing) died and everyone (including Bruno Mars!) got all upset? Think of Prince as Old Bruno Mars, OK? A popular musician who was very, very into funk, Prince kind of moved funk away from that heavy early-1980s sound.

(That video is a lot funnier than I remember.)

There you go! If you want further entertainment–well, let’s just say funk attracts some real characters and leave it at that.

Let’s get Dean mad about something else!


Shame on me, but I’m kind of loving how PISSED Dean is about the bullshit allegation that “Where U At” (from Show Me the Money) is plagiarized from “I’m the One.” These things are basically always crap, of course, but Dean’s been awesomely breaking down every aspect to PROVE exactly how dumb this is.

He keeps posting and deleting to Instagram, so it’s hard to capture this in all its glory. Soompi got most of the first two posts, but they missed the bit where Dean actually spelled out the chord changes (luckily a fan copied this to Twitter)

Dean also posted a video showing the differences between the songs.

Now he’s got another new post up because someone contacted the producer of “I’m the One,” who said (this is an exact quote) “Nope” to the charge.

Go, Angry Dean, Go!

These are cool


These are a couple of years old, but they popped up on my Google alerts today for some reason.

The second one takes a little while to get going, but it works. With both songs I like that the person didn’t just layer the vocals over another track and let’s hope to God they fit (or worse, just fade from one song to another and back again). Apparently they had to isolate out the vocals, too, so kudos to them for putting some work into it.

(And of course if I’m talking about mash-ups, I have to include my fave:


See, they’re very strict!


When Korean hip-hop artists tell you to sing along, you’d damned well better sing along! They mean it!

(Also the 1:40 mark cracks me up. Zico gets the most leverage out of the least stripping of any performer I have ever seen.)

The reason I was traveling this time was because I went to my 25th college reunion (yes, I have been out of college longer than most of you have been alive, I know). Among my classmates are Thomas Lauderdale and China Forbes of Pink Martini, which is an amazing group and a big favorite of my family.

(For the record, I’ve heard Thomas play piano like that in the dark. He’s quite something.)

Anyway, Thomas and China were very generous with their time and talent at the reunion, which was awesome, but it was funny to me how long it took an American audience to start singing or even just clapping along. Let’s just say that audience participation has been waaaaay less optional at the Korean shows I’ve been to!

ETA: I shall add that the MOST exciting celebrity at the reunion was definitely this one!

Exciting to me, that is. As you might guess, successful surf dogs are really, really calm….

I can’t say I have too much sympathy


So, I updated my earlier post about “That Song that Sounds a Whole Lot Like ‘Toy’,” but I wanted to do a new post about it because it’s a little interesting.

According to this (via @Veryhensemguy)

The guy bought the beat here thinking it was legit. Where he loses my sympathy is the whole bit where he’s not taking it down now that he knows he was scammed, I guess because he’s hoping to get cursed at in Korean on all his social media for the rest of time.

So what did he buy? This:

It was put up on YouTube FOUR DAYS after this song!

Keep in mind that the top song is ALSO being sold commercially!

So, you know, if you took the time to thumb down or report “That Song that Sounds a Whole Lot Like ‘Toy'” on YouTube, be sure to take a minute to do the same for “That Other Song that Also Sounds a Whole Lot Like ‘Toy'”–especially because they’re probably doing this to a LOT of artists….

ETA: I’m putting this here in hopes it shows up when people Google this asshole–RYANSAGE.NET IS A SCAM. Read his disclaimer: You will pay Mr. Ryan Sage hundreds of dollars for music he does not own and you cannot use. MUSICIAN BEWARE!