funk music

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Prince Pulls His Entire Catalog

Posted by funkatop On July - 2 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
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Prince upsets the balance again by pulling his entire music catalog off of streaming services like Spotify.

In a huge move that will certainly shift the industry, Prince has removed his catalog from every streaming provider except Jay Z’s Tidal service. Previously, only albums released on the Warner Brothers labels were present and anything beyond that starting from Emancipation all the way to the new 3rd Eye Girl & ART OFFICIAL AGE releases were never present. But now, everything is gone.

Prince pulls music off Spotify

People searching for any of Prince‘s songs on Spotify will find a very heartdropping message that states;

Prince’s publisher has asked all streaming services to remove his catalog. We have cooperated with the request, and hope to bring his music back as soon as possible.”

Many speculate that the reasoning for it is twofold. The first being that Prince has been very animate about wanting to focus more on supporting black owned businesses moving forward. A statement supported by a speech he made during his performance in Baltimore. Which not surprisingly enough, was also broadcast exclusively on Tidal.

The second reasoning is that for even longer, Prince has railed on the streaming services for ripping off artists by paying them fractions of a penny for song plays. A passion that many artists agree is an unfair practice. Additionally, he’s made it very clear that he’s not happy with the practice of streaming music paying the labels twice and not the artists themselves as made evident on Twitter.

prince-pull

 

And all of which is surprising, since Tidal, while a tad more artist friendly, it is still leaned towards the streaming provider’s pocketbook (or wallet) and not a much better payment model than anything else.  If this truly is the reason for the walk out, it would behoove Tidal to take advantage of this marketing opportunity and tout the benefits of the “more artist friendly” service over their competitors.

Regardless of the reasoning, one could only imagine that if it is indeed the latter reasoning, Prince may once again recreate the music industry by renegotiating contracts with the streaming music providers to increase the artist share of song plays which will have a ripple effect for all of the artists on those platforms.

Once again, a new precedence looks to be on the very near horizon. And once again, it’s set by His Purple Majesty.

The Liv Warfield & Blackbird Tour

Posted by funkatop On June - 30 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
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The beautiful Liv Warfield and her band Blackbird is hitting the road to do their tour in Europe. Mr. Christopher chats with Liv about the upcoming leg, the band, Jimmy Fallon and much more.

Google Hangout technical issues caused a loss of the first couple minutes, but there’s still plenty of interview along with special guest Ryan Waters (guitarist for Blackbird)

Review: Orgone – Beyond The Sun

Posted by funkatop On May - 12 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
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orgone-beyond-the-sunFunk music was only perceived to have its “heyday” in the 70’s if for no other reason that it was a new genre of music that smacked on the one, rotated around the bass, and was magnificently easy to dance to no matter what your mood.

Fast forward 50 years later and the true funk genre has gotten buried as back drops for hip hop that people didn’t even realize how much they wanted and desired until Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars revived it with the chart breaking Uptown Funk.

But during those lost years, many bands have committed themselves to the sound and one of the most outstanding of which is Orgone that are creeping up on 15 years since their debut release and almost a decade since their historic album The Killion Floor.

Their newest release Beyond The Sun continues the funk tradition and takes it to an entirely new level by recreating the overall feel that takes the listener back to the original era.

The production is filled with warm tones that give the vibe that you’re sitting in front of your old record player. It creates a smooth hazy mood delivering super funky riffs and clean crisp soulful vocals laid out by new vocalist Adryon De Leon.

Adryon’s addition to Orgone continues their tradition of finding phenomenal vocalists to front the band and she does it with style, grace and power that lights up the tracks where she’s featured.

The 12 track album is a nice mix of instrumental grooves along with the solid bounce tracks that connect the dots. The album opens with the thump stomper Don’t Push Your Luck that introduces you to their new frontlady Adryon De Leon.

There are also a great bit of upbeat hoppy tunes such as Losin You, Take You Higher, pop classic-to-be’s such as People Beyond The Sun and tracks rooted in Mother’s Finest territory like I’m a Woman (I’m a Backbone).

There are also plenty of standouts including the closing Santana-esque Sabi and Meat Machine that sounds as if it was a lost cut from Super Fly.

Once again, we have no choice but to award Orgone‘s latest funkafied offering Beyond The Sun with the illustrious 5 Afros. They deserve it.

Get this album now.

5 out of 5 afros

Review: Van Hunt – The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets.

Posted by funkatop On April - 30 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
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Van Hunt - The Fun Rises, The Fun SetsIt’s never been a secret that we are big supporters of Van Hunt since the beginning of his career. Between his debut self titled album in 2004 and the release of On The Jungle Floor in 2006, we were insanely excited about the direction things were going.

In the interim there was a follow up unreleased album called Popular that Blue Note shelved in 2008 that would’ve solidified his legend in the R&B world, but instead only gathered dust (no pun intended).

In the timeline of his artistry, he continued on the path of attempting to set his individuality by creating his next album What Were You Hoping For? in 2011. But since the listening public lacked the advantage of hearing the progression of his journey since On The Jungle Floor, most of his fans were supportive but confused as to what happened. Like Disney World renovating the entire park without notice.

That nuance wasn’t lost on Van Hunt and he realized that he needed to connect the dots for his old school fans, but without sacrificing the integrity of his mission to continue his personal musical journey. Hence the arrival of his newest album The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets.

The high level of adventure and risk taking is still in full effect, but now includes songs that are far more embraceable and palatable to the general music listening audence, but still delivering on all fronts to appease all of us who have been enjoying the roller coaster rides.

The 13 track album features music stylings all over the sonic map and for Funkatopians, there are a lot of funk driven songs for the head boppers that creep along the lineage of Sly and The Family Stone and long play deep cuts from Slave. But none of which are standard plug and play and all of which offer many elements layered in for auditory nirvana from hand claps, sound effects, vocal screams, seemingly shocking breakdowns and masterfully placed bridges and riffs.

Van Hunt is fully vested in the sound of fellow visionaries like Bilal and D’Angelo where there is a willingness to add what seems like it may be too much until you realize that it’s just enough in the realm of sound, voice and instrument manipulation.

All of the tracks stand on their own as amazing songs, but none of which will ever find radio play with exception to the super funky Puddin’ which could find a home in top 40 if only radio would let it. But they won’t.

There are still the standard strange bits that Van Hunt can’t help but seem to create like She Stays With Me and French For Cloud (cstbu) which are more about the ambiance than lending themselves to sing-a-longs. But that has always been the undeniable attraction for most Van Hunt fans.

There are still his insanely sexy and flowing slow jams designed for the ladies like Headroom, If I Wanna Dance With You and Rub My Feet (suddenly). Deep and psyche intruding.

While we normally reserve the 5 star ratings for funk laden must have albums, this album is accomplishing something on an entirely new level that is truly undeniable and like with Prince’s Rainbow Children, we have no choice but to give it that rating if for no other reason that everyone needs to ingest this musical journey and experience it for themselves.

Get it now.

5 out of 5 afros

R. Kelly’s Atlanta Birthday Bash

Posted by funkatop On January - 9 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
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R. Kelly birthday in Atlanta 2015R&B superstar R. Kelly had a private surprise birthday bash at Time Restaurant and Lounge in downtown Atlanta, GA to celebrate his 48th birthday hosted by Devyne Stephens.

Star power was in full force including rapper/actor T.I., Devyne Stephens, Usher‘s ex-wife Tameka Foster, DishNation’s Ebony Steele, Mimi from Love and Hip Hop, and a host of many other music and film industry patrons.

Management group 10Squared did an amazing job managing the event and getting the word out to a star studded crowd to pull off the secret surprise birthday event for R. Kelly.  Time Restaurant and Lounge did their best to handle the crowds, but was simply understaffed and provided sub-par bar service. A shame that they could have really shined at this stellar event but were simply ill prepared..

But the focus itself was on R. Kelly‘s celebration and the singer was greeted with much pomp and party complete with a stripper in a make shift cake, glitter bombs, sparklers, and flowing champagne.

Funkatopia staff Mrs. Anitra captured 3 separate clips for your viewing pleasure, so enjoy and help us wish Mr. R. Kelly a very happy 48th birthday.

 

20 Best Funk Albums of 2014

Posted by funkatop On January - 1 - 2015 24 COMMENTS
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20 best funk albums of 2014

The best funk band releases of 2014 are listed here in all their glory.

We love putting together lists of great funk music, because there is so much out there that you can easily miss since terrestrial and even satellite radio completely ignore many of the bands on our list with very few exceptions.

So break out your wallets and get ready for the funkiest bands in 2014.  We purposely didn’t add numbers in order to make sure that are created equal in their funkiness. Enjpy this list, complete with links to check the albums on iTunes and in some cases even get and listen to the albums for free!

  • Brand New Heavies – Sweet Freaks (album link)
    Some of the pioneers of acid jazz funk are back to their original order complete with Ndea Davenport at the helm.
  • Rock Candy Funk Party – Live At The Iridium (album link)
    Rock Candy Funk Party is a conglomeration of great musicians and here they are performing live and captured and glorious.
  • New Mastersounds – Therapy (album link)
    The funky Englishmen hit the world with a great release and are even already in the process of creating a new album. They never stop.
  • Big Ol’ Dirty Bucket – Bucket Express (album link)
    On the flip side of a recent band shakeup, the band still released one of the best funk albums of the year. Here’s hoping it’s not their last. You can even listen to the full album on their website.
  • Freekbass – Everybody’s Feelin’ Real (album link)
    One of the funkiest bassists on the planet kills it with this crazy thumping journey.
  • Mike Zabrin – Funktastic (album link)
    We covered this debut album back in the summer of 2014 from the insane new bassist with incredibly catchy songs. An impressive launch.
  • Five Alarm Funk – Abandon Earth (album link)
    Canadian funk band Five Alarm Funk strikes again with another energized release that will blow up your speakers.
  • Analog Son – (album link)
    Analog Son got our attention earlier in the year and we still can’t take it out of our CD player..
  • Polyrhythmics – Live From The Banana Stand (oct. 2013) (album link)
    The Polyrhythmics take their amazing Libra Stripes album on the road and it’s insanely funky.
  • The Motet (album link )
    The Motet is simply fantastic and this album showcases a flash of the funkiness of their live shows.
  • Dopegems – necksnappin (album link)
    The necksnappin’ technically will come from all of the head bobbing you’ll be doing.
  • fo/mo/deep – groovy goodness (album link)
    Super infused with jazz elements, it’s magnificently laid back.
  • Floozies – Tell Your Mother (album link)
    This duo is super 80’s style funky and even better, use the album link and get it free. Yeah, we said it.
  • Earphunk – Sweet Nasty (album link)
    Another free album from Earphunk and it’s super duper funkafied goodness. Listen or download from their site.
  • Big Sam’s Funky Nation – Evolution (album link | website)
    The band that burns more calories in their live shows than anyone we know puts out another funky masterpiece.
  • Karl Densons Tiny Universe – New Ammo (album link)
    Killer new album from multi-instrumentalist Karl Denson that even features appearances from Mike Dillon, The White Stripes and more.
  • The Budos Band – Burnt Offering  (album link)
    Deep heavy ominous grooves and thick horns with a south of the border flair that could serve as the backdrop for a Quentin Tarantino movie.
  • Mingo Fishtrap – On Time (album link)
    If Gavin deGraw got stuck in the New Orleans bayou for a few years of his life, this is what his next album would sound like. But better.
  • Brownout – Brown Sabbath (album link)
    Funk band Brownout takes the tunes of Black Sabbath and recrafts them for their own purpose.  It’s dark, brooding and masterfully classic.
  • Kung Fu – Tsar Bomba (album link)
    Energized funky jazz music flair with crisp New Orleans style vocals and tasty Leslie licks and snap riffs.

Bonus

Funkadelic – First Ya Gotta Shake The Gate (album link)
A huge oversight and literally coming in during the last week of December 2014, George Clinton and the boys slapped out a 3 CD collection of songs for the first time in 34 years. When you guys are right, you’re right.

Extra Bonuses
Check the suggestions below from our readers.

Did we miss some more? Add them to the comments below!  Hook us up and remember, the albums had to have been released in 2014 to qualify for the list.

Purple Rain Reunion Tour?

Posted by funkatop On December - 17 - 2014 21 COMMENTS
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Prince and the Revolution Purple Rain reunion tour?Prince has apparently gone into hiding, which has started some crazy rumors and speculation.

The craziest one that we heard was from a trusted source who is normally on the money, but we’re thinking that this may truly be some serious wishful thinking. Stay with me…a Prince and the Revolution Purple Rain Reunion tour.

Yes, you heard right. We heard some totally unfounded and crazy  rumors that Prince was pulling together the old members of the Revolution in order to do a full blown Purple Rain reunion tour that will do Purple Rain in its entirety along the lines of what Stevie Wonder just did with his Songs In The Key Of Life tour where he plays the full album and then a handful of hits at the end.

This obviously would be “the” ticket if it were to ever happen, but we’re going to say this just isn’t happening. But the silence does make us wonder and Bobby Z having the floral decoration from the Purple Rain album cover does spark some head scratching. Could it be? That would be cray cray.

First off, if it is true, the former members (Wendy & Lisa, Bobby Z, Dez Dickerson, and Doctor Fink) are staying super quiet about it although none have divulged their location in their tweets or posts in the past month and all have also stayed suspiciously quiet compared to their normal chatter (except Dr. Fink who simply doesn’t care to tweet at all anyway).

And of course there is the passing of the 30th anniversary of Purple Rain reissue that was spoken about. Could it be that Prince had Warner Brothers hold off until the tour launched to help spark album sales?  Did he pull social media to avoid the potential leak of his plans?  Then of course, there is the dreaded…..silence….

How psyched would you be? How much would you pay to go? Do you have more fuel to add to this rumor fire? ADD IT!

Editors note (Mr. Christopher): I just don’t see this. This seems like way too big of a secret to be able to keep quiet, but I’m down. Putting aside the pennies and dimes now. If it did happen, it would be the biggest tour in the history of the world. But Dez was in the Modernaires at this point also, so not sure why he’s in the mix. Speculation.

Editor’s Update: A couple other sources came forward and indicated that this was not happening. Then another source said that they were told to say that. Considering that Prince rarely goes “back”, we’re going to file this under not true.  There would be no doubt that it would be the most amazing show ever in the history of the planet, but it would be great if Prince gave us a call to let us know what e’s up to.  We all would like to know. For now, this is the best false hope of the year.

Prince Cancels Social Media, Again

Posted by funkatop On November - 25 - 2014 7 COMMENTS
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Princ cancels social mediaTo the ultimate chagrin of Prince fans everywhere, Prince has once again pulled up his stakes from all of his social media sites. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all of the Youtube videos all gone and many are simply wondering why.  So speculate we will with the assistance of an insider source that thinks that he may have a very good idea.

Many were beginning to be excited that Prince was finally letting up on the reigns of his empire and letting people see the videos, hear snippets of new unreleased material, display new photos, and showcase concert clips.  But with public display comes public criticism. The very crux and dark circumstances that signed the death certificate of the famed NPG Music Club.

A source close says that once the negativity starts outweighing the usefulness of the medium, it simply goes away. The onslaught of silly negative comments from flamers that start ridiculous arguments and dissension among the loyal fans is the typical reason for the disappearance. “Prince is all about positivity and when that goes away, so does he, so if I had to guess why he made this decision, I would first start there.”, the insider shared.

And those comments were growing like weeds on all of the social media sources. An unfounded silly “This sucks” statement that would set up a slew of attacks and unnecessary activity that muddied up the purpose of the medium. Actions that are eerily similar to the NPGMC fiasco.

And the plan wasn’t too well executed since even the websites on ArtOfficialAge.com and 3rdEyeGirl.com still point to all of those social networks, which of course all lead to dead ends. The sloppiness of the site dumps suggests that the decision was a hasty one and that’s not typically the norm for Paisley Park plans although Prince has never fully embraced the internet in the first place and he certainly was not going to be a slave to it.

The fans are getting antsy because the last time his Purple Highness yanked his social media accounts, the silence was deafening and very long.  So for now, us purple-blooded fanatics will have to just wait. While we’re already a tad freaked out, the flush of his 2 new albums is beginning to wane and the flood of appearances such as the SNL performance, the New Girl episode, and impromptu LiveStream events, may be all that we get for a good spell.  It’s enough to make you nervous that it may be a very long and quiet holiday season.

So whether you’re waiting for the apparently never-coming 30 year Purple Rain reissue, the WB rumors of an impending tour, or whatever you may have your purple hearts set for, Prince has yet again to remind you that you are in his world and we are simply lovely passengers. Assume nothing and wait patiently.

Keep in mind that this is all just chatter, speculation and rumors at this point, so feel free to share your own thoughts below.

Editors Note (Mr. C): “If we had to speculate on our own, I would say it’s partially to do with the negativity as mentioned above and partially to do with the Ferguson case. Prince has made statements about the Treyvon Martin situation when it happened, so we know that he has some political leanings when it comes to cases like this. But in all of it, it makes no matter. We’re back to being on his schedule again.”

Review: Stevie Wonder – Atlanta 11/22/2014

Posted by funkatop On November - 24 - 2014 1 COMMENT
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Picture courtesy of AJCThere’s not much doubt that Stevie Wonder is the immaculate superstar. You’ll most likely never find a review of one of his shows that would be negative due to his mass library of hits, but what could have been a sleepy show in Atlanta as Stevie Wonder made a stop in the ATL supporting his current tour performing Songs In The Key Of Life in its entirety, turned out to be masterful in every sense of the word.

Most would agree that Songs In The Key of Life is one of Stevie’s best albums ever and his only double album (sans greatest hits collections), but with a track list that kicks it wide open on the first album and with exception to 1 or 2 hits, goes into a compilation of lesser known songs on the 2nd half, the end result could have been anti-climactic.  Stevie came onto the stage at sharply 8:30 while the rest of the band including string orchestra and began with introductions and prefacing the show with commentary and introducing his sons who were on hand to watch the evening’s festivities.  Co-hosting the evening and providing background vocals for most of the night was the lovely India Arie which was an added bonus with even more surprises to come.

He then began to take on the album in its original track order, but it became evident a few songs in after the barn burners of Sir Duke and I Wish, that the normal listing wouldn’t serve as a good support and songs such as Saturn and If It’s Magic were migrated to the first half as if he himself were aware of the potential to lose the less hardcore fans.  But Atlanta’s sold out Phillips Arena was filled primarily with an audience that knew exactly what they would be getting as they danced and swayed to every song.  Along with more guest surprises like jazz guitarist legend Earl Klugh.

One of the background vocalists providing the backbone for Stevie the entire night was Keith John, son of the R&B legend Little Willie John that has toured with Stevie for many years now. During the first set, he was even given the opportunity to sing his father’s song Talk To Me after wow’ing the audience at his amazing vocal prowess that rivaled even Mr. Wonder himself and made it dreadfully evident that if Stevie was ever having a bad night, he only needed to lip synch and Keith could probably take over and no one would be none the wiser. And no, we’re not kidding.

The show was broken up with an intermission and started back with an explanation of Isn’t She Lovely including an introduction of his daughter for whom the song was written for (who also has toured with her father for many years). She herself was very much holding her own including ripping through the vicious and raucous Ordinary Pain.  They then stayed the course with exception to a couple of impromptu jam sessions including a piece of Michael Jackson‘s The Way You Make Me Feel. At near the completion of the albums tracks, the last special guest of the evening Janelle Monae who came out and sang for the remainder of the album as India Arie joined the background vocalists which then crescendos closing with As which became an onstage celebration.

And just when everyone thought the show was over, Stevie brought on his alter ego DJ Tick Tick Boom which then began to play even more of his hits including Part Time Lover, Happy Birthday, Higher Ground and others including a mass sing along closing the evening with Superstition.

The concert clocked in around 3 hours (even excluding the intermission) and ending near midnight. Stevie was in peak vocal performance and was simply majestic and full of energy. We simply must give Stevie Wonder’s Songs In The Key Of Life – The Performance tour in Atlanta a whopping 5 afros. If it comes through your town,you should run to the box office and go see what very well could be one of his final touring performances.

5 out of 5 afros

Andy Allo Takes Over Funkatopia Radio Show

Posted by funkatop On October - 27 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
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The beautiful Andy Allo has taken over the Funkatopia Radio Show!

Andy Allo plays some of her favorite songs, the stories behind some of her inspirations and of course, lots of stories about Prince, secret tidbits you probably wont hear anywhere else, and music styles all across the map.

Tune into Episode 9 of the Funkatopia Radio Show and enjoy over an hour of great tunes, stories and insider meanings.

Prince Pulls His Entire Catalog

Prince upsets the balance again by pulling his entire music catalog off of streaming services like Spotify. In a huge move […]

The Liv Warfield & Blackbird Tour

The beautiful Liv Warfield and her band Blackbird is hitting the road to do their tour in Europe. Mr. Christopher […]

Review: Orgone – Beyond The Sun

Funk music was only perceived to have its “heyday” in the 70’s if for no other reason that it was […]

Review: Van Hunt – The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets.

It’s never been a secret that we are big supporters of Van Hunt since the beginning of his career. Between […]