funk music

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Prince and Warner Brothers Do Business Again

Posted by funkatop On April - 18 - 2014 1 COMMENT
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Prince SlaveThe relationship between Prince and Warner Brothers is a long embroiled battle that has been filled with legal woes, fights and flat out disdain.  Warner Brothers and Prince had enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship for many years until Prince lost ownership of his music to the WB and took the hit on massive amounts of royalties. A battle that led him to make an appearance on national TV with the word Slave etched into his thin beard.

Apparently, bygone will be bygones, as Prince and Warner Brothers have reached an exclusive global partnership agreement  according to USA Today to release tons of new music from the vaults spanning from 1978 and into the 90′s.  Those lost tracks that hadn’t seen the light of day.  This also creeps up on the 30th anniversary of Purple Rain which will even spawn a digitally remastered 30th anniversary deluxe version release that will possibly add new tracks, new versions of songs, and other juicy bits to commemorate the occasion.

Prince and Warner Brothers

While it may seem out of character for the mega-pop star in regards to even talking with his arch nemesis again, Prince was quoted as saying, “A brand-new studio album is on the way and both Warner Bros. Records and Eye are quite pleased with the results of the negotiations and look forward to a fruitful working relationship.

And that leaves the quote from Warner Brothers who should be thanking their lucky stars to get back one of their lucky stars regardless what the arrangement would be. “Everyone at Warner Bros Records is delighted to be working with Prince once again: he is one of the world’s biggest stars and a truly unique talent” said Cameron Strang, Chairman & CEO, Warner Bros. Records. “We are also very excited about the release of new and re-mastered music from one of his greatest masterpieces.

Either way you look at it, this is huge for Prince and 3rd Eye Girl fans which could create a massive library of unreleased material to finally see the light of day. Especially since this agreement speaks to directly to and addresses those bodies of work even though the immediate focus is the deluxe version of Purple Rain which will re-kindle the 80′s in a very big way.  We’re ready.

 

Outkast Reunion at Coachella

Posted by funkatop On April - 18 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
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Outkast - Andre 3000

Karl Walter – Getty Images

Big Boi and Andre 3000 reunited as Outkast after a very long period of time and performed at Coachella which was their first time performing together in many, many years since Andre 3000 took a hiatus to “do  a little acting” and Big Boi continued to release music and maintain his producer status quo.  But the Outkast reunion went very poorly.

We are Outkast nuts and always have been. But now there are some massive generational gaps that simply can’t be intertwined together and this flop of a performance only accentuated that point even further. Outkast performed very well even amid the lackluster crowd. They had to dig deep to find the energy and if you weren’t into the old school style, you were pretty much lost.

The Coachella festival is filled with mostly EDM (electronic dance music) artists that bring massive musical peaks and valleys, insane light shows, thumping electronic bass riffs, and lots of designer drugs. While there were stage tricks and techniques, Outkast is none of those things. They bring the 808′s, but it’s not the fuzzy thump that drives the crowd insane and Outkast was trapped delivering phenomenal music to a musically retarded audience. It’s an audience that wants to feel what’s happening, sweat and bounce, and has no penchant for original, good quality classic musicianship. They’ve been desensitized and simply want an experience.

So the true question remains, why did Outkast put itself in this situation in the first place? Wouldn’t have been a better idea to wrap them into a festival that surrounds them with like-minded artists that share the same music stylings instead of pairing themselves into a situation with acts that don’t share any commonality at all?

And it won’t be the last time since they’ve set themselves up for this again for an upcoming show at the Counterpoint Festival in Georgia playing alongside yet more unrelated bands such as STS9, Foster The People, Matt & KimPretty Lights and a virtual laundry list of current underground radio jockey acts with barely a rapper among them.

Maybe the thought was to put them in a place where they stand out among the crowd, but it’s not panning out like the promoter envisioned. Or maybe the thought was that they felt as if everyone likes Outkast and their influence is felt across all music genres.  A fact that may hold some truth if not for the fact that it’s failing miserably.

So what is the dream Outkast lineup?  How about a festival featuring Outkast, The Roots, Big Boi (solo set), Andre 3000 (solo set), Janelle Monae, Erykah Badu, The Roots, Liv Warfield, Busta Rhymes, Yin Yang Twins, De La Soul, Little Dragon, and more in the realm of their audience?  When you’re the only act that does what you do among a sea of other musicians that perform another type of music all similar to each other, but not to you, you’ve doomed yourself to a dull audience that doesn’t get you.

That being said, we hope this doesn’t take the wind out of the sails for Outkast. They need to perform to their people and not these “other folk”.  We got nothing but mad love for Outkast here in the ATL and we hate to see them wrapped up in these bad situations.  Outkast should expect a similar reception at Counterpoint. Their booking agent should be roasted over hot coals and then they should bring someone like us on board to put together the show to be talked about for generations to come. A funky hip hop Woodstock like no other.  These merging of different worlds is not a good idea unless you have something to prop it up.

But for those that still want to know what they missed at Coachella, here’s the set list for you to drool over.  It just makes us sad that it was wasted on EDM drones.

OutKast:
1. “B.O.B”
2. “Gasoline Dreams”
3. “ATLiens”
4. “Skew It On The Bar-B”
5. “Rosa Parks”
6. “Da Art Of Storytelling (Part 1)”
7. “Aquemini”
8. “Spottieottiedopaliscious” feat. Sleepy Brown

Big Boi:
9. “Bowtie” feat. Sleepy Brown
10. “Shutterbug”
11. “GhettoMusick”
12. “Tightrope”feat. Janelle Monae
13. “Kryptonite”

Andre 3000:
14. “Vibrate”
15. “She Lives In My Lap”
16. “Prototype”
17. “Behold A Lady”
18. “Roses”

Future:
19. “Same Damn Time”
20. “Ain’t No Way Around It”
21. “Benz Friendz (Whatchutola)” feat. Andre 3000

OutKast:
22. “Claimin True”
23. “Elevators”
24. “Ms. Jackson”
25. “So Fresh, So Clean”
26. “The Way You Move”
27. “Hey Ya”

When Funk Went White

Posted by funkatop On March - 11 - 2014 4 COMMENTS
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Parliament FunkadelicIn its heyday in the late 60′s and all the way through to the 70′s, simply put for the most part, funk music was a very black experience. The bands were black, the fans were black, and the movement was black. While some bands featured white members occasionally, white people didn’t flock to the shows because most shows like Parliament, Zapp, Cameo, Ohio Players drew a largely black audience and in the volatile nature of the 70′s, it was simply a different vibe and funk music was a fraternity of sorts.

Meanwhile in the midst of all of it were bands such as Sly and The Family Stone which defied stereotypes that funk was all black. While at the time, even to Sly Stone‘s admission in Finding the Funk, it was a marketing gimmick to mix both sexes and all colors. And they were very funky. Some may argue that while it was marketing, it also started a trend that sent a very different message and that message was that white people can be very funky too. Then add in bands along the lines of Average White Band (AWB) and Tower of Power and the trend becomes undeniable.

average white bandWhen AWB came onto the scene, they had even made a statement that their name came from the fact that even an “average white band” could be funky. James Brown took particular offense to that statement and had even temporarily named his band the Above Average Black Band including the release of the single entitled Picking Up The Pieces One By One to riff on AWB‘s major hit Pick Up The Pieces.

When Prince came onto the mainstream scene in the 80′s utilizing the same formula as Sly Stone, the timing couldn’t have been more groundbreaking. Racial tensions had eased and here was yet another very funky band who were predominantly white (Wendy, Lisa, Bobby Z., Dr. Fink, and a sex crazed front man who at the time claimed to have a white mother). Funk was getting whiter.

This opened the doors for many white funk bands to slowly begin coming more into the mainstream in various forms including Tower of Power, Galactic, and others. And with the breakthrough of this noticeable change, the live shows for all funk acts across the board began to drift to a majority white audience to the point where very few funk acts had a majority black audience anymore.

To make things even stranger is that most funk bands nowadays are primarily white. If you were to take a random poll of some of the more renowned funk bands on the scene today, you would find that the skew is typically 80% white to 20% black and the audience they draw is even more skewed white.

galacticBands such as Orgone, Monophonics, The New Mastersounds, Brownout, Galactic, Lettuce are some of the most recognizable funk bands out in the mix and their members and audience all skew white. While this isn’t a bad thing by any means, the real question is, what happened?

Even old school bands who still perform such as Earth, Wind and Fire, Ohio Players, Parliament, and Prince tend to draw a majority of a white audience. Does it speak to changes in music tastes among the races? Economics? Dynamic cultural shifts?

All that being said, it’s a truly unusual phenomenon that goes unexplained and in most cases ignored. Surely the black audiences have noticed. Did we simply give funk music to the white people and settle on being okay with claiming rap and R&B as “black music”? And how long will that last as artists like Adele, Joss Stone, Robin Thicke, Mayer Hawthorne continue to bleed into the mix?

Another view is that maybe, just maybe,with the exception of old school funk, the black population simply isn’t interested in funk music anymore or that they don’t even know that new funk bands even exist.  The incredible lack of marketing for this genre of music is deplorable at best and to be “in the know”, you either have to be very active online and willing to search it out, or active in the local funk music scene.

Many believe that this is the true root of the problem because according to even the government census, only 56.9% of black households have internet in their homes compared to roughly 77% of white homes and 82% in Asian households. And you certainly aren’t hearing funk music on the airwaves.  You’re getting it live or online only.

The obvious point is that there doesn’t need to be any racial lines in music, but society can’t help to feel otherwise for whatever that reason may be. There are definitely economic boundaries that very simply are keeping people from hearing certain types of music. And while music crosses all divides, you can’t help to notice that it’s blending in a very unusual fashion.

What’s your take?

Bootsy Collins

Review: Finding The Funk Movie

Posted by funkatop On March - 10 - 2014 2 COMMENTS
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ftf

Music historian Nelson D. George and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson put together a film called Finding The Funk that twists and turns a lot of what you know about funk with some elements that you most likely didn’t know.

The film is particularly refreshing because it’s rare that funk gets any coverage at all nowadays. It spends time talking about some of the roots of funk artists and spends a good but of time talking to funk legends like George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, and Sly Stone. It certainly added credence to its topicality. The film is filled with a lot of great moments and fun funk facts.  Plus the interview pieces are done fairly well including getting Sly Stone to really open up about his contribution to funk.

The bad part is that the journey is sporadic and seems a tad rushed and incomplete. While you didn’t expect them to be completely comprehensive, there are artists that were strangely absent from the film like Rick James, Isley Brothers, Cameo, Average White Band, Tower of Power, Zapp, Billy Preston, War, and the list goes on. Most of those bands went unmentioned at all minus a funk bands map graphic (shown below) even though they managed to give airtime to Lipps Inc. and Platypus. Even if it is a quick mention, we’re pretty confident that the list we just rambled off deserved at least the equivalent of that respect.

The other downside was some of the camera angles and filler pieces. Questlove was obviously reading a teleprompter or cue card because of his awkward eye movements where he simply looked uncomfortable. In one shot in particular, they made him stare straight ahead but focus on the camera peripherally while reading a cue card and it felt awkward just to look at him. And that in itself is a shame since Questlove is a fount of knowledge in the realm of funk and if anyone did NOT need a cue card, it’s Questlove. A simple natural conversation with him would have given Nelson way better scripting than a script that didn’t seem natural in the least.

And lastly, the editing discrepancies were also tough to ignore. Leaving out major funk players and not tying up the film neatly really did the film a disservice. Add to that grammatical errors like misspelling Sheila E’s name twice as Shelia on big title graphics over her video clips would be enough in itself to send Prince fans screaming towards the exits. But when you see it in a film like this, you think, “Certainly that mistake wouldn’t be up there twice, would it? Maybe she changed the spelling of her name?“.

In short, it’s great to have a movie about our favorite topic, but a shame that it missed so many marks. We in no way want to be discouraging, and if any website is all things funk friendly, it’s Funkatopia. But we’re a bit surprised at the final end product that Mr. George put out and even more surprised that Questlove let this film go out in its state. A fresh set of eyes and a couple more weeks of post production and editing would have made a huge difference to the grade, but we’ll give it a 3 out of 5 afros. Any more and our readers would question our integrity.

funk-map

Watch it in its entirety below, because overall, it’s still an entertaining film.

3 out of 5 afros

Movie: Finding The Funk – Watch It Here

Posted by funkatop On February - 11 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

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Questlove takes you on a journey to uncover the roots of funk music with filmmaker Nelson George. Learn about its history along with special appearances by Sly Stone, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, and many other visionaries.

Matter of fact, watch it right now, right here and let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Another Busy Year for Prince

Posted by funkatop On January - 13 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
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Prince 2014Prince has turned into a machine of sorts over the past year or two and is creating more buzz than a hive of angry bees. Prince fans thought they had an awesome 2013?  Well just wait for 2014.

2013 saw Prince doling out a handful of strategic appearances across the globe including Portugal, Curacao, Amsterdam, Denmark, Sweden, and also some U.S. shows in Colorado, Las Vegas, Anaheim, Portland and others including head scratchers like Uncasville, Connecticut. Plus he also put on shows and even pajama parties at his Paisley Park Studio in Minneapolis.

2014 looks to be promising as well, now that various sources have Prince planning for a long stint in the United Kingdom although no dates or venues have been announced. About the only show that has been announced is an appearance in New Orleans for the Essence Music Festival’s 20th Anniversary. But the primary source of all things Prince being Dr. Funkenberry has hinted off and on via Spreecast chats and posts that we can expect to see a bunch more similar to 2013′s schedule and that we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg.

All of Prince‘s shows have met with incredible reviews and that is not surprising since all on staff agree that here is no experience close to seeing Prince live (including Funkatopia founder Mr. Christopher who has seen Prince 27 times and counting).  Prince‘s level of showmanship and masterful guitar work has proven that it can easily stand on its own, but when you add 3 amazing rock artists to the mix (drummer Hannah Ford, guitarist Donna Gratis, and bassist Ida Nielsen), it quickly becomes a hard driving show that destroys any negative preconceived notion you may have had and leaves you altogether winded and spent.

Along with concerts, Prince and his all girl phenom 3rd Eye Girl will be releasing a new album called Plectrum Electrum slated to hit very soon. And then there are TV appearances such as the rumored appearance on Arsenio Hall‘s late night show, and the confirmed appearance on the TV show New Girl featuring Zooey Deschanel that will be on after the Superbowl. Prince supposedly contacted the show directly since he was such a fan.

And if all that wasn’t enough, he also has his hands in a lot of side projects in some form or fashion working with various acts like Janelle Monaé, KING, Esperanza Spalding, Liv Warfield, Shelby J and tons more.

Even with all of that going on, radio stations still refuse to play any of his new material even though he’s consistently selling out arenas around the world. Needless to say, it makes not a hair of concern for Prince or his fans, since they’ve gotten used to the top 40 snubs of the past 2 decades. And luckily it hasn’t phased or slowed down His Purple Highness in the least as 2014 looks to be a year where the world just may be forced to take notice. And we’re totally okay with that.

Oh and be sure to bookmark our new Prince concert page that features his videos, Prince news, and concert dates (confirmed, rumored, and also Prince related bands).

Hosting a Retro Night

Posted by funkatop On January - 8 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
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Why your party needs funk music and bingo games

Photo from BuzzinTown.com

Every time we feel that the year is about to close, we always make last minute attempts to get together with our family and friends before welcoming the new year. These gatherings come to life through parties, and nowadays the themes are getting more and more interesting. Still, one of the most popular theme choices is retro. Retro parties are laid back, and in the words of blogger Nicole Williams, it brings “fun back to the party circuit by recalling the spirited days of decades past”. If you plan on hosting a retro party, make sure to decorate the venue accordingly—vintage décor and classic costumes should be visible. What’s going to make your party stand out is the entertainment and the music; you can turn your party into a blast by incorporating the classic bingo game while playing funky music.

The Retro Game 
Nothing screams retro more than a game of bingo, not because it’s Grandma’s favorite pastime, but due to its history. The game had early beginnings in Europe, then it made its way to the US; nowadays, bingo games seemed to have become a subculture of its own. It’s the staple activity for fundraisers, gatherings, even parties. It’s been the object of films (such as Bingo: The Documentary) and is currently a big online market. The promise of a prize coupled with the thrill of waiting for numbers to be called will turn your party into an exciting event. With the right funky music, your retro party will be the talk of the town.

The Funk 
Which funky music will fit your retro night like a glove? Think about the Grease theme in a famous FoxyBingo.com commercial when a dapper Foxy sang and danced a la John Travolta, and you’ll have the basic idea. Any classic upbeat tune that will keep guests on their toes is a good choice. Here are a few suggestions by All Music:

· Step It Up – The Bamboos / Alice Russell
· Give Me a Minute – The New Mastersounds
· Caffeine – Quartertones
· Get Yourself Together – Soul Snatchers
· Superstrut – Kashmere Stage Band
· Another Day in the Life of Mr Jones – The Limp Twins
· I Am What I Am – Marva Whitney

Outkast Reunion

Posted by funkatop On January - 6 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
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Outkast in AtlantaAs if the Goodie Mob reincarnation wasn’t good enough, the Dungeon Family surprises keep coming as Outkast plans a 2014 reunion starting at Coachella which hits the stage in April.

Andre 3000 and Big Boi were spotted together in Atlanta which led to a lot of speculation on the duo’s return (see the Instagram photo on the right). Then two separate confirmations of sorts came to fruition. The first being the “fake” 2014 Coachella poster (seen below) put together by one of their organizers based on what they were closing up, but then some of the parts were actually confirmed by Frank Mojica and Alex Young on Consequence of Sound as one of the acts on the poster that was actually true.

Then the second confirmation came via Future during an interview with Stereogum who stated not only that he was aware of the reunion but also hinted at some new content coming down the pipe including some decade old solo material from Andre 3000 along with new material like the song Benz Bitch that would be showcased on Future‘s new album Honest coming out this year. He not only confirmed Coachella, but also hinted at oping to be sharing the stage with them at the event

Then the rumors exploded from there insinuating that based on the response at Coachella that the dynamic duo can be expected to explode onto the touring circuit along with a new album that has been supposedly under wraps composed of previously unreleased material along with new cuts.

As an Atlanta based funk music based outlet, we hope that we’re given some honors and be the first to know about this reunion tour for real. But for now, it appears that their Coachella appearance has been very much confirmed.

Fake Coachella Poster

Prince Announces 3 Shows on East Coast

Posted by funkatop On November - 25 - 2013 1 COMMENT
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Prince concert

AS ALWAYS, YOU CAN CHECK THE PRINCE CONCERT PAGE FOR UP TO DATE CONCERT INFO

Doc just released the info that Prince will be playing 3 shows at the end of December at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. You can check the details on the Prince Concert Page.

Tickets will be $125 and $195 and the venue holds about 10,000 people. All 3 shows are consecutive days starting on December 27th, then December 28th and finally December 29th all starting at 8pm sharp. Tickets go on sale on December 6th via Ticketmaster. You would think that as anti-establishment Prince is, that he would find another way to distribute tickets other than the fee stripping Ticketmaster. Oh well.

Meanwhile, there’s lots more coming from Prince in 2014 and it’s shaping up to be a bigger year than even 2013 was. Good news indeed.

 

Bear Creek Music Festival Interview Bonanza

Posted by funkatop On November - 13 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
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Bear Creek Music Festival Interviews

Five incredible interviews with The New Mastersounds. The Motet, Kung Fu, The Resolvers, and Space Capone have been released just in time for Bear Creek Music Festival.

Mr. Christopher and Funkatopia pulled up their boot straps and scheduled multiple interviews with some of the bands playing at The Bear Creek Music Festival including Eddie Roberts from The New Mastersounds, Todd Stoops from Kung Fu, Dave Watts from The Motet, Ron Eisner from The Resolvers and Aaron Winters from Space Capone.

All of the bands have been insanely fun to speak with,” said Mr. Christopher, “And the interviews posted were literally fractions of the conversations that took place. Most interviews we just sat and chatted for over 30 minutes prepping, laughing and cutting up. Maybe some of those snippets will see the light of day. I wish that we could have had more time to really make these videos better quality presentations, but I think people are more concerned with what’s being said and having some visuals more than anything else. Plus we literally have 24 hours or less to get them out after we’ve recorded them to get them out in time to promote the festival.”

Also planned on the schedule during the festival are Bootsy Collins, Karl Denson, Robert Walter, Mike Dillon, and many others.  Mr. Christopher adds, “I’ve had communication with many of the bands, but it’s almost impossible to interview everyone. Funkatopia really fell into a strategic position with Bear Creek Music Festival this year. We hope that moving forward that we will be able to serve as one of the primary press coverage sites for the event and we’re out to prove to Bear Creek that this can be an invaluable partnership.

Enjoy the interviews and expect many more to come over the next week.

Eddie Roberts of The New Mastersounds
Mr. Christopher note
: “Of all the interviews, I was the most tripped out about this one. Eddie is like a funk hero to me, so I was somewhat intimidated, but it went well and he was incredibly polite.

Dave Watts from The Motet
Mr. Christopher note:
I always liked the band, but after chatting with Dave, I’m a big fan now.


Ron Eisner from The Resolvers
Mr. Christopher note:
Ron is easily one of the easiest guys to talk to. This never felt like an interview. It was like we were just shooting the shit.


Todd Stoops from Kung Fu

Mr. Christopher note: “I love Kung Fu and Todd is the utmost professional. Chatting with him only makes me more psyched to see them perform. His excitement is contagious.

Aaron Winters from Space Capone
Mr. Christopher note: “This was the first interview that Aaron has done as ‘Aaron’. His alter ego is Space Capone, but before we went into the interview, he said, ‘We’re pretty much a full band, so I’ll think I’ll do this as my first interview as Aaron Winters of Space Capone.’  He was very  funny and I think we burned nearly a half hour talking shop before the interview even started. The conversation was just very natural with him

Prince and Warner Brothers Do Business Again

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The relationship between Prince and Warner Brothers is a long embroiled battle that has been filled with legal woes, fights […]

Outkast Reunion at Coachella

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Big Boi and Andre 3000 reunited as Outkast after a very long period of time and performed at Coachella which […]

When Funk Went White

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In its heyday in the late 60′s and all the way through to the 70′s, simply put for the most […]

Review: Finding The Funk Movie

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Music historian Nelson D. George and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson put together a film called Finding The Funk that twists and […]