funk music


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Interview: NPG’s Damon D and Tony M

Posted by funkatop On June - 27 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
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DamonD TonyM

Some first came to know of Tony M and Damon D as they danced during Purple Rain through The Time‘s Jungle Love and The Bird on the balcony of the famed First Avenue.  But since they were shrouded in lights and afforded only silhouettes, most wouldn’t know them until Tony M was rapping at spitfire pace during Prince‘s Love Symbol album or on  Diamond and Pearls and as both Damon and Tony would grace the recordings of many a NPG album and end up part of Prince history.

Listen in as Funkatopia‘s Mr. Christopher interviews Damon D as he tells the story of landing that fateful Purple Rain appearance and Prince’s quest for perfection. Then later joined by Tony M as they both share Prince stories and discuss the impending NPG reunion shows and how they feel about being categorized as a tribute band.

Review: Prince – Purple Rain Deluxe Edition

Posted by funkatop On June - 26 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
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Mr. Christopher does a full extended review of the new Prince release Purple Rain Deluxe. Chris talks about each CD and the DVD, but takes an amazing amount of time  on the 2nd CD (The Vault and Previously Unreleased disk) and gives the background stories and feedback on each and every track.

The video review gives you the full monty, so tune in and enjoy!

Buy the new album today and support Paisley Park to keep the music coming:
Get it here! http://amzn.to/2rRRZzN

Get it here! http://amzn.to/2rRRZzN

Support the park!

Sheila E. Needs Your Help!

Posted by funkatop On June - 8 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
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Sheila E - Iconic Project

Easily one of the most incredible drummers on the planet, Sheila E. has done it all. So it makes us very ecstatic that she’s back to do even more with her new project called ICONIC.

Sheila E. pushed a new politically charged project called ICONIC through Pledge Music that allows you to not only grab a copy of the album, but also get a wealth of great “thank you” gifts for your contributions at super affordable price points. You can get a signed drum head, drumsticks, cymbals, CD’s, shirts, and even all the way up to private moments such as dinner with Sheila, a private studio tour, and all types of instruments. Many of which are under $100.  But as of this writing, the project still hasn’t reached its goal in order for the album to see the light of day,

ICONIC is Sheila E‘s brand new album that features what she refers to as the greatest protest and revolution songs of our time that are reimagined as only she can imagine them. While the concept sounded very similar to the Wake Up! project that John Legend performed with The Roots years back, it became immediately evident that this was a very different conceptualization once Sheila released a teaser video featuring Prince‘s barn burner America.

Sheila was in a very difficult point in her life as she was mourning the death of good friend and once fiancé Prince and then the election of Donald Trump.  The anger that welled up inside of her came bubbling to the top and she knew that she had to use that emotion to create something that would make a difference.

“I was mourning Prince, I was mourning our country,” Escovedo said in her feathery tone. “This person who comes into office through bullying – it was just overwhelming. I cried a lot. I still often cry a lot. It’s just the way I heal.”

The end result led her to backburner the dance record she had been working on and ask the world to help her put together the ICONIC project and bring the imagining to fruition.  It featured a breathtaking track listing that made the project even more exciting as it showcased a plethora of songs covering Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, and an unrelenting list of music history’s most prolific and “iconic” freedom fighters.

Most notably are guests like The BeatlesRingo Starr, Candy Dulfer doing the horns on Prince‘s America, Sly and The Family Stone’s Freddie Stone helping to cover Everyday People, One Nation Under a Groove with the man himself, George Clinton on deck and tons more.

Head to the Pledge Music page right now here and help Sheila E get to the goal to make this project happen.

ICONIC Track List

1. “Everyday People” (featuring Freddie Stone)
2. “Come Together” (featuring Ringo Starr)
3. “One Nation Under A Groove / Mothership Connection” (George Clinton)
4. “Jesus Children Of America” (featuring Israel Houghton)
5. “America” (featuring Candy Dulfer)
6. “Inner City Blues / Trouble Man”
7. “Funky National Anthem”
8. “The Ghetto”
9. “Pusherman”
10. “Blackbird”
11. “Respect Yourself”
12. “What The World Needs Now”
13. “Yes We Can Can”
14. James Brown Medley

And be sure to check out this amazing article with Rolling Stone that has some fantastic Prince stories you’ve certainly never heard along with the full 7 minute version of America exclusively on their site. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/premieres/sheila-e-on-princes-wooing-wild-purple-rain-parties-w486152

Prince: Another Lonely Birthday. For Us.

Posted by funkatop On June - 6 - 2017 5 COMMENTS
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Funkatopia’s Mr. Christopher reflects on Prince’s death over a year later as we celebrate his 2nd birthday without him;

Prince - Photo by Robert WhitmanIt’s Prince’s birthday again on June 7th. Over a year has passed since his passing and I’m still not really “OK.” I mean, I’m fine, but it still upsets me a lot which is hard to comprehend.

I still have to catch my breath when I think about it. I remember where I was sitting when I heard about his passing. I remember my phone ringing off the hook from friends and family checking in on me.

I had met Prince a few times and he’s been in my life for as long as I can remember. I got to sing alongside him and dance on stage, but I didn’t have any personal relationship with him where we sip cognac in front of a fire and talk about world issues. But then I wondered, did he ever have that type of relationship with anyone once he became famous? Maybe his wife, right? Maybe.

Prince photo by Steve Parke (http://www.steveparke.com/)It makes me mad that he’s gone, because I was literally striving to get closer to him musically. To have him hear my music. To work with him in some capacity. To be in that circle of friends, even if it were the outer, outer circle. And when I shared all of the experiences that I actually did have with him, people get jealous and tell me how lucky I was to even get those moments. So I try to focus on the happy moments since it’s his birthday again.

The afterparty in Atlanta was one of my happy moments. He had just performed at Woodruff Arts Center on April 4th and now it was the wee hours of the morning on April 5, 2001. The club was eleven50 and the place was packed like sardines. There was nowhere to stand near the front of the stage except in the aisle on the side of the stage next to Renato Neto‘s keyboards. So that’s where I stood.

It was almost time for the show to start and I heard the crowd screaming. I couldn’t see the front of the stage, so I became agitated, when out walks Prince right in front of me to play on Renato’s keys. I could touch him without even extending my arm. He was right there in front of me.

I was trying to comprehend that I was right next to Prince while he played keyboards. It was an instrumental jam, so I began singing and riffing along with him. Then I saw his head cock in my direction like he was trying to hear me better and wanted me to sing louder. So I did. And then I saw a smile creep across his face as he turned and locked eyes with me. He kept playing and intently watching me sing while bobbing his head.

Prince - Photographer unknownThis went on for 10 seconds with him staring directly into my eyes, which felt like an eternity. It was like he was analyzing my soul. Then he reached out, slapped me five, put his hand on my shoulder, spun away from the keyboard, and he was gone.

There were hundreds there in the building, but for that 15 seconds, it was just us riffing and anything else that may have been going on was non-existent.  This was one of a few mind-tattooing moments that I would have with him moving forward, but by far one of the most musically intimate.

Next year (2018) will mark 40 years in the industry when his first album For You hit the market in 1978. 40 years. And he was a nonstop writing machine who could play all of the instruments right from the beginning. It takes the better part of 3 days just to play his released material 24/7. And when you include all of his unreleased material, it’s the better part of a week.  We know because we’ve done it on FUNKEDUP.

Matter of fact, it’s why FUNKEDUP even exists. June marks the one year anniversary of the FUNKEDUP app that was created because I wanted to do something special for Prince’s birthday and there simply was nothing. So I created it. A radio station that could be listened to anywhere in the world 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. And a year later, it’s still very heavily Prince, but just like Prince would have wanted, it also showcases other artists that you should know. And still commercial free.

Prince - Photo by Steve Parke (http://www.steveparke.com)Since 1979, Prince has performed, on record, 1,181 shows and that doesn’t include afterparties. If each of those shows were 2 hours in length and you listened to them back to back without resting, it would take you 98 days straight to get through them all.

Also on record, he additionally performed 642 afterparties. If each of those was an hour in length, go ahead and add another 27 days of straight listening. That’s over 4 months of listening to his performances 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with no commercial interruptions.

Oh and let’s not forget his involvement in all of those other bands. The Time, The Family, Vanity 6, Appolonia 6, Mazarati, Sheila E., Madhouse, Tamar, Carmen Electra, NPG, NPG Orchestra, Bria Valente, Liv Warfield, Judith Hill, Andy Allo, and never mind. You get it.

What other musician gave so much of himself not only directly, but unto others to help them blossom as artists? The reality is that if you had access to everything he had ever worked on, performed, recorded or touched, you’d be stuck in a chair for most likely years. A fate that we would all take upon ourselves if given the chance.

Knowing that he had so much more music to share even beyond what he already had vaulted away for us, is truly a travesty. So many more opportunities to possibly cross his path or shake his hand. It’s heartbreaking. He never wanted us to celebrate his birthday, but to celebrate his death as he passed on to the “next level.” But we still use his birthday to reflect on all that he gave us and it was plenty. We are truly the stingiest fans on the planet to have demanded so much from one man, but he was the most gracious by giving us as much as he did. That’s why Prince is king.

The lives he touched is immeasurable. Yours. Mine. He created music that made you cry, made you think, made you re-assess yourself as a musician or performer. The echelon. The pinnacle. Happy birthday. Rest in peace.

PLEASE share your thoughts or any personal moments you had with Prince below in the comments. This is where we share out memories, thoughts and prayers.

One MusicFest Announces 2017 Lineup

Posted by funkatop On June - 5 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
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Jill Scott One MusicfestThe annual new soul music festival One MusicFest announced the lineup in Atlanta for 2017 which includes headliner Jill Scott, a farewell performance from yasiin bey (aka Mos Def), Damian Marley, Sean Paul, Thundercat, Too $hort, Jidenna and tons more.

The event will primarily take place at Lakewood Amphitheater on Saturday September 9th, but a few acts will perform on Friday September 8th at The Tabernacle including Thundercat, J.I.D., NONAME, and Ari Lennox. Advance tickets are already available for sale on the website at http://www.onemusicfest.com.

The festival has always been insanely full of amazing acts and this year is no different.  2016 showcased a complete Dungeon Family reunion, Erykah Badu, Anderson.paak, Busta Rhymes, Gary Clark Jr. and others, so we were certainly interested to see where they would go from there.

OMF announced the lineup in a private event on June 5th in downtown Atlanta and obviously there is no letting up. This year they chose Jill Scott as their powerhouse headliner and paired up the top billing with yasiin bey‘s absolute final performance in Atlanta. yasiin bey announced that he would be retiring from the music business and would relocate to Africa to focus on an arts, culture and lifestyle collective that he’s titled A Country Called Earth.

But also in the lineup is reggae bookends Damien Marley and Sean Paul which will bring the Jamaican flavor and as always, One Musicfest will sprinkle the evening with other great acts including Jidenna, Kaytranada, Too $hort, Ro James, and Tank and the Bangas. Not to mention a massive lineup of DJ’s.

Whatever you do, you should strive to get to this event because the energy is always fierce and palpable and the music is pure, driven funk and soul with dashes of hip hop goodness. Get your tickets here now.

One MusicFest 2017 Atlanta lineup

EXCLUSIVE LISTEN! PHO’s New Album Two Preview

Posted by funkatop On May - 10 - 2017 2 COMMENTS
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PHOalbumFunkatopia is your EXCLUSIVE home of the debut preview launch of PHO‘s new album Two where you get to hear the album two days before its official release.

After being discovered by Prince on Youtube, the band was asked to come to Paisley Park and open for the legendary Larry Graham. The event went so well that Prince took to Twitter and announced “Come back anytime. Just holla.”

The band then began work on their sophomore album Two at Pachyderm Studio in Minnesota under the production of John Davis who has been at the helm of many incredible albums like Fly by Lettuce and Eric Krasno leading to one of the most funkiest collections in years.

Mr. Christopher joined PHO to discuss the new album and more about their journey. Enjoy the interview and the exclusive preview of their full album below.  Click here to pre-Order the album now!

LISTEN! New Prince Songs Released

Posted by funkatop On April - 18 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
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Prince - DeliveranceUPDATED 4/20/2017:

Rogue Music Alliance has announced that they will be releasing a brand new 6 song EP from Prince that will include 6 previously unreleased tracks (technically 5). You may be asking who Rogue Music Alliance is and you’d be right to ask.

Rogue Music Alliance is a music group put together by Ian Boxill who is a producer based in California that ahs worked with acts such as 2Pac, Janet Jackson, and Gladys Knight. During the period of 2006-2008, Prince co-produced and co-wrote 5 songs with Boxill putting together what they referred to as a “Man Opera.”

At the time, Boxill was required to sign a confidentiality agreement that kept him from distributing, using or sharing anything the pair worked on. It also specifically denoted that Prince was the sole owner of the material.

Fast forward a decade and Boxill is all set to release the 5 songs on Friday April 21, 2017, the one year anniversary of his passing. Paisley Park has been desperately trying to stop the release since March and has been flat out denied by Boxill who appears to be operating on an alternate universal plain.

Boxill had spent a long time mixing the songs and very simply stated, “Prince once told me that he would go to bed every night thinking of ways to bypass major labels and get his music directly to the public,” he is quoted as saying. “When considering how to release this important work, we decided to go independent because that’s what Prince would have wanted.”

Prince’s estate had a different view of Boxill, telling Billboard magazine, “Mr. Boxill did not comply with his agreement,” the estate said. “Instead, Mr. Boxill maintained copies of certain tracks, waited until after Prince’s tragic death, and is now attempting to release tracks without the authorization of the Estate and in violation of the agreement and applicable law.

The estate confirmed that it “is taking immediate legal actions to prevent Mr. Boxill’s continuing violations of his agreement and the rights of the Estate and its partners in Prince’s recordings.”  They filed suit on Friday April 14th, but had to re-file in California where Boxill resides which didn’t hit until Tuesday.

ITunes and Apple Music made the title track Deliverance available for purchase  along with the ability to pre-order the entire collection. That has now been pulled and the release has been blocked and is now being pulled completely.

The EP tracklisting was;

Deliverance
I Am
Touch Me
Sunrise Sunset
No One Else
I Am (Extended version)

 

On the flip side, many people clamored to get a hold of the tracks before the hammer fell due to the fact that many people have expressed grave concern with the release schedule of Paisley Park that has only offered another greatest hits collection with only one previously unreleased song (Moonbeam Levels).

Parliament’s Robert “P-Nut” Johnson Passes

Posted by funkatop On March - 14 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
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Photo courtesy of Funkatopia.com

Photo courtesy of Funkatopia.com

Not many people know about Robert P-Nut Johnson, but his presence as a background vocalist for Bootsy Collin’s Rubber Band and George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic is immensely felt across their discography.

Born in 1947, he played with a lot of local bands in the Baltimore area, but would start his true funk journey with Bootsy’s Rubber Band in 1976 as well as doing studio work with P-Funk. That was over 40 years ago.

Bootsy Collins would stop touring in 1979 and that’s when P-Nut moved to P-Funk permanently. P-Nut would actively be a part of George Clinton‘s various incarnation of the band and we were blessed to have seen him multiple times before he passed. The shot above is one that Mr. Christopher was lucky enough to capture.

P-Nut passed away on March 12th, 2017 onward to the great Mothership in the sky and it was officially announced the following day. No cause of death was made available, but he will sorely be missed.

Interview: Tayo of Five Alarm Funk

Posted by funkatop On March - 14 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
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Five Alarm Funk - Sweat

Mr. Christopher got a chance to sit down with Tayo Branston, drummer and vocalist of Five Alarm Funk.

They discuss their new album Sweat, great funk bands from Canada you need to hear, their big upcoming tour, and what it’s like being a funk band in Vancouver.

Tune into the Soundcloud interview below that also features two tracks from the brand new album!

20 Best Funk Albums of 2016

Posted by funkatop On January - 7 - 2017 45 COMMENTS
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Here it is! 2016’s best funk albums!

This year was insanely tough. There weren’t a lot of true funk releases, but we hear that 2017 has some great funk coming down the pike including a new album from both George Clinton and Parliament. But without retyping the same things we always say, here’s our pre-ramble.

It’s GREATLY IMPORTANT that you realize that your favorite 2016 funk album might not be here because a) we only pick 20, b) it may not have been released in 2016, and c) we may not have even heard of it. So if we missed it, PLEASE share it in the comments area.

You can check out the posts from previous years like 2014 and 2015 and also enjoy tons more selections in those comment sections.

Again, they are not numbered since they are all funky and created equal in their funkiness.

Check out the playlist of these bands on Spotify!


childish-gambino-awaken-my-loveChildish Gambino – “Awaken, My Love!”
(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify)

We love it when we are sideswiped by an album and Donald Glover‘s new Childish Gambino was just the distraction we weren’t expecting or even thought that we needed.  Taking a break from his positions of producer, star, and writer for the magnificent show Atlanta, Glover went completely off the rails for his newest offering.

Completely abandoning his normal rap delivery, he displayed his love for all things Parliament and Funkadelic that even got the attention of George Clinton who mentioned the album and offered his praise for the respect. No rap here. Only funk.


psychic-mirrors-nature-of-evilPsychic Mirrors – Nature Of Evil
(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify)

Psychic Mirrors was never on our radar either, but they certainly are now. If you are a fan of 80’s funk, it’s as if they are paying homage to every funk hit of that era. Every single song is dripping with keyboard and drum machine funk nostalgia.

The entire album seems like a blatant homage to The Gap Band, Cameo and everything in between that may had any pop sensibilities back in the day. It is pure 80’s funk nostalgia that will easily bring a smile to your face.


new-mastersounds-nashville-session

The New Mastersounds – The Nashville Session
(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify)

The New Mastersounds are no strangers to Funkatopia and you can hear them online via the FUNKEDUP app as well as revisit interviews we’ve done with them in the past.

The Nashville Session is a superb collection of their funk fare and it’s just as great as it’s always been. They took specific selections from their many years together, got a small listening audience together and recorded their live performance in one grand evening at the Welcome to 1979 studio in Nashville, recording it onto 1 inch tape and limiting its release to a mere 1000 vinyl pressings. Luckily, you can also get it digitally.


the-apples-dragonzThe Apples – Dragonz
(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify)

It’s literally is impossible to pigeonhole The Apples who are a collective of students from Jerusalem’s Rubin Academy of Music and they celebrate their heritage through music which somehow skewed and output a super funky delivery.

Armed with turntables, a horn section, drums, stand up bass and whatever else they can throw at it, The Apples end up with super funky songs that mix in DJ sensibilities and the end result is bizarre and funky all in the same breath.


snarky-puppy-culcha-vulchaSnarky Puppy – Culcha Vulcha
(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify)

Snarky Puppy is always a force to be reckoned with and 2016 proved to be another dominating year. Snarky Puppy is a group compiled of some of the finest musicians on the planet and lucky for us their newest offering keeps their normal formula in the form of Culcha Vulcha which tilts the needle to funk and jazz.

While there are still moments of grown folk music and smooth jazz, the album is filled with plenty of funk music with spicy jazz flavoring and plenty to go around.


the-motet-totemThe Motet – Totem
(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify | Stream)

The Motet have definitely skyrocketed on the funk music scene since 2000 and are finally getting the appreciation they deserve. And they returned the favor in 2016 with the release of two albums including Totem and a new Live at Red Rocks album.

Even though they are 16+ years into the game, their albums still have that old school feel which is a feat in itself. That good feeling, party music that The Motet does to perfection and Totem is no exception.


dr-lonnie-smith-evolutionDr. Lonnie Smith – Evolution
(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify)

Dr. Lonnie Smith may be unknown to most, but he is one of the originals on the funk jazz scene and he is no joke on the Hammond organ. And his new album Evolution certainly puts him in the limelight again where he deserves to be.

He is a Hammond virtuoso and paid his dues with George Benson’s Quartet and was always actively involved with Lou Donaldson. From the opening 14 minute jam session with Robert Glasper, this album is magic and his first album back on Blue Note since his 1970 release Drives. Yes, we said 1970.


pigeons-playing-ping-pong-pleasurePigeons Playing Ping Pong – Pleasure
(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify)

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong not only have a great band name, they have a great funk album in the form of Pleasure. This festival funk band has been stealing hearts across the nation with their nutty on-stage personas that are off the wall and hard to resist.  If you’re not bopping your head to the music, you’re laughing and smiling at their antics.

Pleasure has that stoner funk jam band feel that they somehow managed to replicate on recording which many bands from that genre have a difficult time accomplishing. The songs all have a happy, dance, or psychedelic feel, but every bit of it is infused with happy funk elements. Yay!


lettuce-mt-crushmoreLettuce – Mt. Crushmore
(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify)

Lettuce is pure old school and they have been around for the better part of two decades. Being blessed to not only have seen them multiple times, but also to have captured recordings, Lettuce is a funk fans dream.

Their huge sound and massive vibe is so mesmerizing, that you can’t stop listening. Mt. Crushmore is not only a great new funky album from the masters, but a journey. The only disappointment with this offering is that the album is super short (under 20 minutes) since it’s essentially outtakes from last years Crush (which made it onto the 2015 list), but it’s still so frigging good.


lack-of-afro-hello-babyLack Of Afro – Hello, Baby
(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify)

Multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and DJ, Adam Gibbons (aka Lack of Afro) has finally released his next creation onto the world and it’s a fantastic ride down the dirt roads of funk and soul.  Taking pieces of albums of the past and reconstructing them into new masterpieces is only part of the formula that makes Lack of Afro‘s new album so intriguing.

Gibbons also joined forces with the talents of Joss Stone, Professor Elemental, Elliot Cole and others to create a really awesome  convergent sound. Somehow he found time when not creating spots from everyone from Disney to Adidas to put together this album that is also available in an instrumental version.


feeling-good-the-supreme-sound-of-producer-bob-shadFeeling Good – The Supreme Sound Of Producer Bob Shad
(Amazon | iTunes | Spotify)

Many people don’t know the name Bob Shad, but he was the production mastermind behind many great funk and soul classics and was an undeniable force to be reckoned with as he produced music for Sarah Vaughn, Big Brother & The Holding Company, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and plenty of others.

Decades after his passing, he finally gets the album that he deserves with a collection of funk and soul songs from various artists where he used his golden fingers to create worlds and put his undeniable stamp on the tracks. It’s like a trip down soul history lane.


diamond-ortiz-lovelineDiamond Ortiz – Loveline
(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify)

Released late in 2016, Loveline is a funk album full of deep synth bass tracks, talkbox, stabbing keyboards and thumping bass lines.  The sound that made the mid-80’s what they were, it’s undeniable and unmistakable.

This is Diamond Ortiz‘s first release for MoFunk Records and we’re already anxious to hear his next release. This really comes across as an unapologetic homage to Roger and Zapp, but it’s all new and super funky.


a-tribe-called-quest-we-got-it-from-here-thank-you-4-your-service-cover-artA Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service
(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify)

In their first album in nearly 20 years, A Tribe Called Quest came back onto the scene with a new album that was everything people expected with nary a complaint from even the doubters.

It’s impossible to ignore the legend of the late Phife Dawg who stayed with us long enough to participate in the release extensively, but there are also many guests including Anderson. Paak, Andre 3000, and others that put on some extra spice and made this yet another classic to add to their legendary discography.


the-soul-snatchers-where-y-atThe Soul Snatchers – Where Y’At
(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify)

You don’t often see a lot of funk bands com out of the Netherlands, but enter The Soul Snatchers who put together a smooth funk and soul album that has tastes of New Orleans and gumbo, but somehow compiled from the complete opposite side of the planet.

With soulful vocals, slick horn sections and cool blue vibes, they created a funky swayful album that will have your head bobbing and feet tapping. The Soul Snatchers create a dirty soul sound that harkens back to 60’s soul, but still keeps it new and fresh.


papa-grows-funk-the-last-leaf-livePapa Grows Funk – The Last Leaf (Live)
(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify)

Papa Grows Funk is no more as the members have all gone their separate ways a few years ago. So Imagine our surprise when 2016 still managed to give us one last chance to pay homage to one of the best funk jam bands to grace festival stages.

The Last Leaf was recorded back on May 6th in 2013 and was their last show performing together. Everything was captured brilliantly from the band’s energetic performances to the crowd’s intense appreciation from one of funk’s finest.


the-funk-ark-high-noonThe Funk Ark – High Noon
(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify)

The Funk Ark‘s High Noon is a southwestern funk roller coaster that could easily serve as a background for any of Quentin Tarantino movie.  With funky deep vibes, we were shocked to not see it on the Funkish list.

Delivering that Budos Band-esque horn section, staccato guitar picking and that south of the border flair creates an undeniable sound and flow that very few bands can pull off or somehow maintain for an entire album.


three-step-manoeuvre-three-step-strutThree Step Manoeuvre – Three Step Strut
(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify)

Three Step Manoeuvre has a band name that gives spell check a fit (that’s not how you normally spell maneuver.), but they have that hip poppy feel that only great bandslike The New Mastersounds can deliver.

We had to check to see if it was Eddie Roberts on guitar because the playing style is so dreadfully similar that it will make you do a double take. That quick picking, shuffling snare drums and riding bass is a recipe that very few can get right, but Three Step Manoeuvre do it magnificently. Maybe that’s how maneuver is spelled in another country.


space-orphan-shut-up-about-the-sunSpace Orphan – Shut Up About The Sun
(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify)

Space Orphan is simply fantastic. Mr. Christopher got an opportunity to sit down with John Wirtz and discuss what makes this album so special. Check the interview here.

All of the tracks are well over or near 6 minutes in length which makes for some fantastic listening pleasure. The songs are constantly changing to keep you drawn in and the production strategies are fun and interesting. This is straight jam band funk styling, but with enough variants to make you want to listen again and again.


corey-henry-lapeitahCorey Henry – Lapeitah
(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify)

If straight New Orleans Treme style funk is what tickles the soles of your shoes and wiggles your butt in your seat, then there won’t be any reason to look any further than Corey Henry’s Lapeitah offering.

He stays true to the sound, feel and history of the New Orleans sound like many before and alongside him such as Trombone Shorty and Galactic. He has certainly earned his badge of black and gold with this album.



kendrick-lamar-untitled-unmasteredKendrick Lamar – Untitled Unmastered.

(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify)

Yeah, yeah. Stop rolling your eyes. Kendrick Lamar is no joke and 2015’s To Pimp a Butterfly was a literal masterpiece and deserved every award it won. The impressive Wesley Theory backing band that hit the road for Kunta’s Groove Session (including Atlanta <) was simply funky and breathtaking.

Untitled Unmastered. is a compilation of tracks that should have been on TPAB, but somehow ended up on the cutting room floor. These songs were incredible and stunning. There isn’t any way we can avoid not putting it on our list.


Added Funky Bonuses!

As we do every year, there are always a few albums that should be on the Best Of list, but don’t offer enough funk selections to qualify. But they are simply fantastic albums that you cannot miss.


Kendra Foster albumKendra Foster
(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify)

Kendra Foster has spent her days supporting some of the best artists on the planet including providing background vocals for George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic for many years and doing the same as a crucial part of D’Angelo‘s rise back to fame during his Black Messiah unveiling.

She’s finally got another album and it’s amazing. Her first was heavily influenced by Parliament, but this time around she definitely opted to do her own thing. There are so many great songs that it’s one of the most impressive albums from any artist that you will hear.



eric-krasno-blood-from-a-stoneEric Krasno – Blood From a Stone
(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify)

Eric Krasno could probably hold the title for busiest man on the planet dipping his guitar neck into way too many guest spots to count. But when he’s not playing guitar full time for Lettuce or full time with Soulive, he somehow found time to put together a solo album.

Soulive had already blew up when Dave Matthews tapped them to open several shows for DMB, when he decided to break out and push out his own solo album by talking to God to add a few more hours into a day so that he could get into the studio and create a super cool album that you should hear.


ittle-simz-stillness-in-wonderlandLittle Simz – Stillness In Wonderland
(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify)

Little Simz back story is super intriguing, but way too involved to get into here. Let’s just say that she’s a phenomenal British female rapper who strives to avoid being called a female rapper and wants to be appreciated as simply a hip hop artist without the added sexist adjective.

This album will set her on the right path for sure as it is full of production nuances and that high vibe that made Digable Planet‘s Blowout Comb so essential.  The same chemistry exists here and well worth a listen.


vaudou-game-kidayuVaudou Game – Kidayu
(Amazon | iTunes | Website | Spotify)

We can’t take credit for this selection as we got turned onto Vaudou Game by Funkish, but we’re glad they did. Vaudou Game (Voodoo Game in English), is straight French funk that is unapologetic and still somehow startlingly reminiscent of Fela Kuti, even though it’s completely in French.

The entire album is pure afropop and full of funk jams that seem like they were stripped from the 70’s, but everything is simply pure and raw and more impressively, brand spanking new.


Extra Bonuses from YOU!

Check the suggestions below from you, our readers. We know we missed a bunch, so help us out. Add them to the comments below!  Hook us up and remember, the albums had to have been released in 2016 to qualify for the list.

Remember to check out the playlist of all of these bands on Spotify!

Also check out Funkish’s excellent list also.We appreciate our friendship.

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