20 Best Funk Albums of 2023


2023 was a challenging year for funk albums. Once again, funk has taken on many different faces with more electronic touches and a heavy deviance from the common funk formula. Even bands that we expected to stay true decided to tread into new territory. So expect some funk variants this year.

AS ALWAYS, as you review the list below, here is our normal pre-amble. It’s GREATLY IMPORTANT that YOU realize that your favorite funk album of 2023 might not be here because a) we only pick 20 (plus some bonuses), b) it may not have been released in 2023, and c) we may not have even heard of it. So if we missed it, PLEASE share it in the comments area below. As we said, there are some obvious omissions, so we expect to see them in the comments.

The 2023 funk albums listed below are not listed in ANY numerical order. This is NOT a countdown. They are all funky and if it’s on this page, it’s worth your time! Here we go!

The Motet – All Day
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

The Motet has had a long storied history in the funk world and some pretty amazing vocalists to boot including Jans Ingber, Lyle Divinsky, and most recently Sarah Clarke. This time around on their 10th album All Day, they went with an instrumental approach which has always been at the core of what they do best.

The album is full of funk jams with quick switch drum patterns, hard-driving funk, and Worrell-style synthesizer whine. “All Day is something I say when I like something so much I could do it ‘all day’ – playing music definitely fits there,” says keyboardist Joey Porter. “Instrumental music has been a staple of The Motet repertoire since the conception of the band, especially live. Individually, instrumental music has been the majority of what we have all played in our careers, so it’s natural for us to have an instrumental album. I’m also excited that there were songs written by every member of the band.”

The Rumble featuring Chief Joseph Boudreaux
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

The Rumble feat. Chief Joseph Boudreaux Jr. is Mardi Gras Indian Funk ensemble based out of New Orleans representing the Black Masking Indian community. The Rumble is fronted by Grammy-nominated singer Chief Joseph Boudreaux Jr. for the legendary Golden Eagle Indian tribe.

In 2022, the band Cha Wa also landed on our list and The Rumble features 6 of those band members who have multiple Grammy nominations. All of which have a zoned-in focus on what they call Mardi Gras Indian funk which began in part by Boudreaux’s father Big Chief Monk Boudreaux of the Wild Magnolias. The band members come with a heavy resume of sharing stages with bands like Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Dumpstaphunk, Neville Brothers, and many more.

Tha Skunk Mob – Tha Skunk Mob Cometh
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

When most people think of the core of funk, most immediately think of Parliament Funkadelic and rightfully so. From the deep bass, fuzz-toned synth, and party-vibed off-kilter harmonies, Tha Skunk Mob delivers an album that’s just what you’d expect a funk album to sound like.

Tha Skunk Mob was previously known as Tha P Union which has also been on the Best Funk albums list in prior years and had the iconic George Clinton drop some tracks with them as well. All that to say that Tha Skunk Mob is certainly a legitimate Parliament-esque funk band and you gotta have your sunglasses on. That’s the law around here.

Polyrhythmics – Filter System
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

Based out of Seattle, Washington, Polyrhythmics refer to themselves as the OG Cinematic Psych Funk ensemble and that’s about as accurate a description as one could conjure up. They are a full-blown instrumental group deep in the underground funk scene merging funk with R&B, progressive jazz, and Afrobeat.

Filter System is the follow-up to 2020’s Man From the Future and is filled with fantastically layered funk jams and occasional laid-back funky tracks like Funky Miracle. It’s the perfect old-school funk journey layered top to bottom with ingeniously slick horns, rolling bass lines, and infectious beats and grooves. It’s a keeper.

Bernie Worrell – Spherical
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

Bernie Worrell is affectionately known as the Wizard of Woo, the core keyboard synthesizer mastermind of Parliament Funkadelic‘s most iconic riffs. His untimely passing in 2016 left a huge empty hole that. But before you get an idea as to what Spherical probably sounds like based on Bernie’s previous work, just know that you’re wrong. Guitarist John King wanted the project to be rock, funk, blues, noise, and experimental. That’s exactly what’s here culled from an 8-hour recording session.

Spherical is a full-blown funk-rock jam session featuring Bernie Worrell on keyboards (Parliament, Talking Heads), John King on guitar (Electric World), and Cindy Blackman Santana (Lenny Kravitz) on drums. All creating a harsh Funkadelic rock cacophony. Like a band rehearsal that you were never supposed to hear, but still displaying beauty in its raw unfiltered mayhem, which was very much reminiscent of those true Funkadelic sessions.

Ida Nielsen – More Sauce Please
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

While well-known overseas for her amazing bass prowess funk shows, Ida Neilsen quickly came to prominence as part of Prince‘s New Power Generation and then 3rd Eye Girl project. This being her 3rd solo album, one thing that has stayed consistent is the Prince influence throughout the album.

There are plenty of obvious purple nods throughout the album such as Bounce Back and Shake It Off. Ida not only blesses us with bass, but also has some keyboard work included as well. All of this along with some curiously named tracks like Bounce Like a Grandma and Slappadibopbop have you clicking just to see what it’s all about. It’s cleanly produced funk with a pop flair.

The Mighty Soulmates – Volume 2
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

The Mighty Soulmates is the funk supergroup you never knew you needed. The band features Mic Murphy (The System), St. Paul Peterson (The Time, The Family), Andre Cymone (Prince), and Gardner Cole (Jody Watley, Madonna). This is second entry called Volume 2 from the recording sessions that happened in the early 90’s.

While Volume 1 had incredible songwriting, as you’d expect, it had more of a Beatles-influence, Volume 2 was the songs that were left over and included way more immediate funk-leaning classics like Wreck Shop and the opening Heavenly Body. And the vocals are unparalleled with shared tracks from both Peterson and Murphy whose voices are instantly recognizable and like a warm fire on a cold night.

Saoul – Popsicle
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

Saoul‘s latest album Popsicle is a journey into a strange planet that is very closely reminiscent of Van Hunt‘s On the Jungle Floor. The similarities are more on the quirky chord changes and unusual vocal quirks that are very Van Hunt‘ish. And the title track Popsicle has a very early-Prince vibe and the album is full of great magical moments.

Although, to hear Saoul explain it on Music Box, he doesn’t give himself much credit saying, “I don’t want your manufactured plastic deep-fake rock and roll; AI-generated cookie cutter like we’re on some talent show.” No matter how you cut it, it’s one of my favorite albums on this list that rides the funk fence and well worth a listen.

ShrizznMaze – Dope Frequency
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

ShrizznMaze was off the radar due to their lack of presence in the States. Based outside of Switzerland, they made sure they were on my radar by sending in a CD via snail mail. The CD is packed with straightforward funk tracks but also features appearances by funk legends like George Clinton (Parliament), Greg Boyer (Parliament, Prince), and the recently departed Amp Fiddler (Parliament).

The band is primarily a duo of two very funky Swiss boys, Eric “Shrizz” Rohner, and Maze Kuenzler that met in 1999 as part of a Bernese funk band, called Ineffect. After the band dissolved, Shrizz and Maze created the project and the album Dope Frequency has finally seen the light of day. And not soon enough!

Watermelon Funk – Enter the Galaxy of Woo
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

Watermelon Funk is yet another Parliament Funkadelic spin off with those great funk standard riffs and keyboards. It’s all a mish-mash of funktastic artistry from Garrett Shider, Kevin Goins, D’Vibes, Brittney Beckett, BQuiz, and others.

The entire album is fully encased in the project and adds that fully charged Parliament sound with the strange sound effects, Aquaboogie-esque freaky voices and whining complete with the Bernie Worrell style synths and the entire P-funk package. George would be proud. And probably is.

PD Williams – Funk, Love, and Soul
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

Very rarely does an album come along that hits right out of the gate. PD Williams debut album Funk, Love, and Soul has every ingredient of the funk formula established by Stevie Wonder and then some. The opening title track literally sounds like a track stripped from a 70’s Stevie album.

PD Williams maintains the formula with incredibly strong R&B vocals reminiscent of a young and wired Donny Hathaway. Then he mixes it up with songs like Met the Devil in a Dress that screams a strong Lenny Kravitz influence. The production is incredibly clean and the funk is so upbeat and fresh in the style of a bright seventies-era Stevie Wonder and is just unprecedented for a debut album like this.

Zackey Force Funk and XL Middleton – Blue Blade Piranha
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

When XL Middleton puts his signature stamp on an album, the sound is undeniable and XL has been no stranger to the Funkatopia Best Funk lists in the past. This time XL Middleton joins a project with Zackey Force Funk whose life story reads like a movie complete with drug trafficking, prison, and even becoming a rocket mechanic working with Space X. Not kidding.

The end result is a convertible top-down laid-back West Coast funk feel that is firmly rooted in XL Middleton‘s love for 80’s and 90’s G-Funk merged with ZFF’s breezy production flow which culminates into some amazing tracks that perfectly fit the soudtrack for the old school funk OG’s. Just perfect.

Liv Warfield – The Edge
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Liv Warfield came to notoriety being a member of Prince‘s New Power Generation alongside her partners in funky crimes Elisa Fiorillo and Shelby J. Her energy was always off the charts and her album The Unexpected was pure soulful bliss. Now enter her follow-up The Edge which is damn near perfect with my only complaint being you’re left wanting more. A lot more.

The album is full of magical moments including the cover of Phil Collins Another Day in Paradise that adds a brand new dimension to the song. Liv Warfield‘s guitarist Ryan Waters is the mastermind behind many of the songs, and his songwriting prowess is off the charts on The Edge with some of the funkiest and most organic structures imaginable. Insanely strong standouts like Stare, Edge, and Maybe They’ll Take Your Picture coupled with Liv’s powerhouse vocals make for one staggeringly amazing album.

The Allergies – Tear the Place Up
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

The production duo from Bristol better known as The Allergies is at it once again with their new album Tear the Place Up which comes on the heels of the Reconcile EP. It’s stuffed full of London funk in the vein of The New Mastersounds and a dash of The Floozies to boot.

This album differs a little since they mix in different flavors of music from R&B to jazz and layer some tracks with hip-hop from artists like Andy Cooper (Ugly Duckling), Bootie Brown (Pharcyde), Charles Morgan, Marietta Smith (Smith and the Honey Badgers), Dele Sosimi, and Joe Lickshot. The consistency is all over the map, but instead of being distracting, it’s more like a surprise around every corner.

New Breed Brass Band – Made in New Orleans
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

Like The Rumble above, the New Breed Brass Band is another project giving a nod to the Black Indians and their funky stylings. Led and produced by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, as you’d expect, is firmly rooted in New Orleans funk with a literal “Who’s Who” of NOLA funk including drummer Jenard Andrews, sousaphonist Michael Brooks, Nicholas Payton, Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews), the late 5th Ward Weebie, Wild Wayne, and many others.

The album gives further salute to the Mardi Gras Indians with the closing track Won’t Bow Down featuring Spy Boy Nut. The album celebrates unity and is a true testament to the New Orleans funk sound that is forever entrenched in their culture and vibe that is undeniable.

Tra’Zae Clinton – Eye Can Dig It
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

Back on track with the funk sounds rooted in Parliament Funkadelic is the latest album from Tra’Zae Clinton called Eye Can Dig It. The sound is thoroughly embedded into his DNA as the grandson of the Parliament founder George Clinton. He even produced his first record with his grandfather and just 9 years old called Tecno Pimp.

Last year, Tra’Zae Clinton released three albums. One rap-based, one funk, and one R&B. Last year was no different as 2023 showcased another 3 albums with Eye Can Dig It being his funk album of the year. With his firm funk lineage, he definitely knows the recipe for creating the frenetic funk sound of Parliament and how to recreate that same cloud-high vibe that goes with it. And he does it well.

Floki Sessions – Boots in Place
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

The Floki Sessions represent the London funk sound at its best and is yet another funk supergroup featuring George Porter Jr (The Meters, Stevie Wonder), Eddie Roberts (The New Mastersounds), Nikki Glaspie (Dumpstaphunk), and Robert Walters (Greyboy All Stars) and a library of vocalists including Green TTea, Son LittleLamar Williams Jr. (North Mississippi All-stars), Tierinii Jackson (Southern Avenue), and Erica Falls (Galactic). Then throw in the horns of Donald “Big Chief” Harrison on alto saxophone, trumpeter Eric “Benny” Bloom (Lettuce), and saxophonist Nate Miller (Funktion), and just holy cow.

The album was recorded at Floki Studios at Eleven Experience’s Deplar Farm in Iceland, which is highly unusual for a funk album, but the album merges jazz, funk, and soul with a blast of Daptones. It’s a highly technical and enjoyable romp into European funk, but with George Porter Jr and Nikki Gaspie driving the bottom end, it puts an entirely new spin on the sound and it’s mighty refreshing.

Swindler – Lego My Ego
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

Swindler is a newcomer to the Funkatopia Best Funk list, but we have a feeling it won’t be their last appearance. Their latest album Lego My Ego is easy to see that the album was heavily inspired by The Meters as evidenced by the opening track Dizzy.

Based in Seattle, Washington like the aforementioned Polyrhythmics, it’s becoming evident that Seattle is slowly becoming less of a breeding ground for grunge and more of a hotbed for funk. The album is embedded with funk jam sessions that all take on many different faces and styles as each song progresses. It’s perfect for people who like to vibe out while they work, but want their music based on a strong funk groove. This will become your go-to.

Bakers Duz’n – Volume 1
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

Bakers Duz’n is also a newcomer to our funk list. The core of Bakers Duz’n are Ryan “Guy Jay” Pierce and Tim-Jim Baker. Tim-Jim Baker used his name to name the project and he purposely included 13 songs on the album to go with the name Bakers Duz’n. Being a long-time fan of funk, the project was created over the pandemic.

He sent one of the selections to Pierce since they had worked together in several bands beforehand and it went so well that he eventually sang on all 13 tracks. What started as a funk passion project ended up landing them a spot on this list as two good friends just jamming on some funk tracks and the fun and brightness of that friendship shines through and is overall a fun listen.

DJ Williams – Soldier of Love
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

The new album from DJ Williams Soldier of Love is pure magic and beautifully produced. Opening with the Lenny Kravitz-esque track Whipper Snapper, the album also features incredible musicianship with special guests across the tracks including Adam Deitch and Eric Benny Bloom (Lettuce), Isaac Teel (aka Mr. Funknasty), Alan Evans (Soulive), Josh Fairman (Sunsquabi), Nate Miller (Adam Deitch Quartet)Roosevelt CollierKanika Moore (TAUK), and Will Trask.

So besides being a full house of funk jam band musicians, the end result is anything but. The songs are incredibly well structured but just loose enough to feel raw and bright. Not to mention a very slick cover of The Doors Light My Fire. However, the production layers everything perfectly so it all sounds clean, but not sterile. Similar to Jamiroquai‘s Emergency on Planet Earth, it’s all beautifully crafted and an honor to have this album here.


The Bonus area is designed for reissues, live shows, and EP’s not long enough for a full album. 2023 brings you FIVE bonuses. It’s the bonuses you never knew you needed. But you do.

Prince – Diamonds and Pearls Super Deluxe
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

Since Prince‘s passing in 2016, there have been heavy expectations for each posthumous release and each one having to live up to its hype regardless of presentation. With all of the previous posthumous releases being from the 80’s, Diamonds and Pearls Super Deluxe marked the first daring release from the 90’s era of music and it did not disappoint.

The album not only showcased the remastered songs, but also a bluray version of his 1992 impromptu concert at Glam Slam in Minneapolis, the Special Olympics concert from 1991 (including the soundcheck), 33 previously unreleased tracks, 15 newly remixed single edits, and the complete Diamonds and Pearls video collection. While not funk front to back, it’s packed with a lot of funk tracks and worth a spot here for sure.

Enema Squad – Live at the Bitter End
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

The Enema Squad has been on the Funkatopia Best Funk list previously, but this is the Parliament-esque funk project doing what they do best and live in front of an audience along with all of the insanity and theatrics that goes with it as it had back when they opened for Black Eyed Peas, Fishbone, and others.

Enema Squad is based in Detroit, Michigan, and led by former Parliament-Funkadelic drummer Gabe Gonzalez and funk master L*A*W*. The album changes face as it travels the country from coast to coast, which can include any number of musicians including Nate Turley, Izzy Savides, Lonnie Greene, and background vocals from Coko Buttafli, and Nette Lashay. It’s all P-Funk nation in some form or fashion. It’s live funk madness.

Lettuce – Live in Amsterdam
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

It goes without saying that Lettuce is a legendary funk band that is essentially the OG’s of the funk jam band scene. The band features Bassist Erick “Jesus” Coomes, saxophonist Ryan Zoidis, guitarist Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff, drummer Adam Deitch, keyboardist & vocalist Nigel Hall and trumpeter Eric “Benny” Bloom. All of which are considered masters of their craft.

But placing Lettuce in the middle of Amsterdam is another thing entirely that takes on a life of its own. The band even carries their own CBD products, so Amsterdam is perfectly fitting for one of their shows for when CBD just isn’t enough. Their shows are hypnotizing, mesmerizing, and a lot of funky fun. And now you get to experience it for yourself. BYOJ.

Sure Fire Soul Ensemble – Live at Panama 66
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

It’s great to finally have a live album from Sure Fire Soul Ensemble even if it is an older show from 2019. It’s completely worth the wait. Recorded at Balboa Park’s Panama 66 in San Diego, it’s a great alane of band and audience.

The live album is a great mix of funk and jazz but also has a lot of Afro-Cuban fun influences that add a nice shuffle to the tracks. Keyboardist and bandleader Tim Felton has put together an incredibly tight band including the mighty Jake Najor on drums, Omar Lopez on drums, Aquiles Magana Jr. on guitar, Kiko Cornejo Jr. on congas, and rounded out on horns with Jesse Audelo, Wili Fleming, and Travis Klein.

High Fade – Live in London EP
(Check It Out Here | Artist Website)

The final bonus is the only EP in the mix by Londoners High Fade with their EP Live in London. While primarily only known overseas, we see that changing as soon as they get traction in the States. Along with quirky videos online that showcase their witty and raucous nature, High Fade is a trio that funks in the vein of The Police.

It’s a level of infectious energy similar to Five Alarm Funk where the vocals are packed with personality and verve where it feels like the speeding train can come off of the rails at any moment but never does. Their entire show is based on high-energy and even if it slows for a moment, you can guarantee that it’s temporary. It’s one fun ride of frenetic funk.

Extra Bonuses from YOU!

And once again, lots of music to get you through 2024. And just like every year, our readers always have some great additions that we either missed or that they feel should have been here. And most of the time, they are SO right!

But if you add to this list in the comments, REMEMBER THE RULES!

  • The albums must be in the funk realm (but we have some leniency here).
  • The album must have been released in 2023

And of course, if you want to go back in time to see some of our other Best Funk Album Lists from previous years, here you go!

20 Best Funk Albums of 2022

20 Best Funk Albums of 2021

20 Best Funk Albums of 2020

20 Best Funk Albums of 2019

20 Best Funk Albums of 2018

30 Best Funk Albums of 2017

20 Best Funk Albums of 2016

20 Best Funk Albums of 2015

20 Best Funk Albums of 2014

3 thoughts on “20 Best Funk Albums of 2023

  1. Thanks for this great list. The only one I really mis is the previously unreleased album of MUTINY – black hat daddy and the silver comb gang. On ReGrooved. Records. That should have been on there

  2. Galactic – Tchompitoulas EP
    Ernie Johnson from Detroit – Swamp Nymph
    Ironsides – Changing Light
    Cory Wong – The Lucky One
    Speedometer – Abbey Road Masters: The Funk Sessions
    Night Beats – Rajan

    All some of my favorites from 2023.

  3. Additional favorites:
    Scary Goldings Live (feat. John Scofield)
    Rippin Chicken (feat. Delvon Lamar)
    Tony Finch Marino – B-Side Me
    Soul Monde – The Relix Sessions
    Beat Bronco Organ Trio – Another Shape of Essential Sounds
    Krasno/Moore Project – Book of Queens

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