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.