There is no other music on the face of this earth that can move your body like FUNK!!! Black, White, Red, Yellow, everybody dances to “The Funk” Everybody’s parents (or Grandparents nowadays!) has at least one “Funk” record somewhere. And it is because of this that its one of the roots of Hip Hop music.
It originated in the mid “1960’s” When Henry “Roy” Byrd A.K.A “Professor Longhair” (12/19/18-01/30/80) a New Orleans Blues singer and pianist fell in love with “Afro Cuban” rhythms and came up with the idea of putting the “Culture” back into African American soul and R&B music which he felt was lacking something at the time.
Fast forward as the sound travels outside New Orleans and picked up by many Soul and R&B artists. The two that would have the most influence on Hip Hop music in the future would be The Great James Brown and Drummer Clyde Stubblefield. James brown’s rhyming on 4/4 would become imitated still by MCs today and Clyde Stubblefield’s mastery of New Orleans drumming techniques would become the most sampled Drums EVER!!!
Disco, a club driven derivative of Funk dominated the late “70’s” and was heavily sampled by the DJs for their up and coming “Rap” bands. Since it was the current and most rebellious music of the time it blended perfectly with the spoken words of the local inner city poets.
In the “1980’s” Instruments began to be replaced by electronic machines. Horn sections were replaced by digital synth keyboards like the Yamaha DX7 and drums were replaced by padded machines like the Roland TR-808. Influenced by Electro-Funk bands “Yellow Magic Orchestra” and “Kraftwerk” DJ Afrika Bambaataa dropped “Planet Rock” one of the most widely known Hip Hop songs of all time.
As the late “80’s-90’s” started to roll around the now “Established” MCs began to take it back and sample some of the old school funk and disco records they grew up on. James Brown would become known as the “Grandfather of Rap” George Clinton’s Parliament/Funkadelic would be the 2nd most sampled band in history (2nd to James Brown and the JB’s) and Clyde Stubblefield’s Drumming and (Former bassist for both James Brown & George Clinton) Bootsy Collin’s Bass rhythms would lay the foundation to the “Framework” for producers and beatsmiths on how to make Hip Hop beats.
Today Funk is not forgotten. The sampling of Stubblefield’s drums may have been long exhausted but the techniques are ingrained in our DNA. And the TR-808 and the 909’s “BOOM!” are heard more than ever. The “80’s” Electrocution of Funk has inspired the Electronic dance music or “EDM” of today which now is being used by Hip Hop artists.
Before Funk, American soul and R&B music was stale and lacked the organic feel and energy of its African roots. Without that there would’ve been no “Spirit” to the rebel sound. Without that there would be no music for the Hip Hop generation. There would be nothing if the “FUNK!” wasn’t put back into the music!