2020’s best funk albums are here!
We pick the best funk albums released in 2020 and this year was very difficult. In a year littered with a pandemic, elections, riots and protests, it was good to have a wealth of good music to choose from.
AS ALWAYS, It’s GREATLY IMPORTANT that YOU realize that your favorite funk album of 2020 might not be here because a) we only pick 20 (plus some bonuses), b) it may not have been released in 2020, and c) we may not have even heard of it. So if we missed it, PLEASE share it in the comments area.
The funk albums listed below are not listed in numerical order. This is NOT a countdown. They are all funky and if it’s on this page, it’s worth your time!
One can only imagine the pressure of having the Godfather of funk, George Clinton as your grandfather. However, George’s influence on Tra’Zae’s 2020 release Tra’Zombipulation is immediately evident and is a literal showcase of his admiration for his grandfather’s style.
The songs have Parliament music stylings layered with Andre 3000‘esque vocals that are delivered in an excitable and frenetic way that sounds like the funk could go off the rails at a moment’s notice and that makes it pure funkafied bliss.
You simply cannot deny Bootsy Collins as the rightful heir to the funk bass throne. While Bootsy announced that he would no longer perform live, he still blessed the masses with another great funk album to make sure that his funky dominance remains recognized.
The album features plenty of tongue-in-cheek moments that you’ve come to admire, but also lots of noteworthy guests such as George Benson, Snoop Dogg, Victor Wooten, Dr. Cornell West, and many others outside of his comfort zone like country star EmiSunshine to mix up the flavor. See the exclusive Funkatopia interview here.
Garrett Shider is no stranger here as he found himself gracing the Best Funk Albums of 2019 list and what an appearance it was.
The son of the late funk Parliament Funkadelic legend Garry Shider aka Diaper Man, has aspired to make his father proud and stayed close to the tree by choice. His newest album leans more towards his guitar and is filled with hilarious songs such as Like Pac-Man and Loose a Nut. He does it again. See the exclusive Funkatopia interview here.
No one works harder in the industry and to keep the funk alive more than Lettuce. The members of the funk-jam band have been around for over two decades and cross-pollenate with other acts regularly.
If anything positive came out of the horrendous year, it was that bands that normally tour exhaustively end up in the studio to churn out amazing collections of focused work like Resonate. It features incredible songs like the opening Blaze, Checker Wrecker, and a fantastic homage to Leon “NDUGU” Chancler. Listen to Funkatopia’s interview with Lettuce‘s Adam Deitch here.
Orgone has many faces and their sound seems to get more polished with each release. What doesn’t change, however, is that sound. That seemingly impossible ability to capture an era where every album sounds like a lost funk album that was buried in 70’s dust.
Whether it’s the recording methods or playing style that lends itself to that output, it is another masterpiece from Orgone that also finds them joining forces with the likes of Cyrille Neville and Pimps of Joytime.
Diamond Ortiz is a non-stop machine churning out a couple of albums a year. What’s probably more impressive is that the quality of the synth-pop output is equally as impressive. Quantity and quality.
Bulletproof is one of two releases from Diamond Ortiz in 2020. He also released the just as impressive Classy Chassis, which is just as much an intense taste of the 80’s electronic funk as this entry. Diamond Ortiz is a California jewel bathed and glowing in synthesizer glory.
Victortrey Funklove is a completely new and undiscovered funk that caught us off-guard. While the album is entitled Volume 2, there is no Volume 1, and we lucked out enough to catch this debut that was 10 years in the making.
The album is filled with true funk gems that bleed a Parliament-Funkadelic vibe and swaying bumps. Songs like the opening Cold Cuts and tracks like Summerpool have 80’s funk influences with flavors of hip hop layered throughout. It’s one heck of a funk debut and worthy of this list.
France is notorious for funk and Cissy Street is a force to be reckoned with that began with their debut album from 2017 which found its way onto our Best Funk Albums of 2017.
The new album is an homage to Tower of Power and hence the name La tour du pouvoir which translates to, well, The Tower of Power. There are also other homages such as the closing Jabo and Clyde for John Starks and Clyde Stubblefield. The entire album is a nod to the greats as it should be.
It’s a shock that for all of the decade’s Jellybean Johnson’s career in the music industry playing alongside the greats like Prince, The Time, and The Family that it would take this long for him to put together his own material for his debut album.
The album is filled with funk and rock elements and is complete with guest appearances from Ashley Tamar Davis, Chance Howard, Tracey Blake, and others. The only disappointment is how difficult it is to acquire the album including its unavailability on any streaming services or marketplaces.
OctavePussy is a Dutch band started in 1999 that got its name from George Clinton‘s 1978 album Motor Booty Affair. The entirety of the album may as well be a Parliament album as well as it contains everything you would expect to hear including George Clinton himself.
This latest release is their 6th album and a complete shock that they have gone unnoticed until now, which is officially no longer an oversight. The album is exactly what you would expect from a band that has established its very existence on a fictional cartoon character of George Clinton‘s creation. It’s funkier than you possibly can handle.
George Clinton seems to gravitate towards all things funk and he also found his way onto this debut album from a group that calls themselves Smudge All Stars. They also welcomed aboard their debut Lee Scratch Perry and Alfred Pee Wee Ellis to make sure the funk was undeniable.
From the opening track Brutal Funk and littered throughout on songs like B-Side and Freaky Toe, this album is perfect. Every year, we have to pick one album that rises to the top of the heap and this is definitely the one that should get your attention.
Take one part funk, one part old school hip hop, and a splash of breakdancing music and you have The Bump Squad. A full-blown unapologetic romp into the 80’s complete with jumpsuits and boomboxes.
This is their debut album with all songs written by the duo Tomas Smågesjø and Petter Aagaard that are obsessed with not only the funk but the very specific era that this collection of songs caters to and it’s well worth a listen.
When Moniquea wasn’t finding herself and her insane skills on other artists’ work or compilations, she began collecting her own full set of works for this crazy funky set of songs while partnering with great producers and artists like XL Middleton.
Her past work has garnered the attention of many music publications like OkayPlayer, Afropunk, and many others, but this release is definitely different. It’s a blurring line between her dizzying rhyming skills and her soulful singing that is the focal point of this very hip and well-crafted release well worth your time.
Nik West is a monster. A raging funk queen that demands to be listened to, but for some reason keeps falling on deaf ears and that begs to be rectified. Her second album Moody just may get her the attention she damn well deserves.
The vocalist, producer, and multi-instrumentalist teeters between the funk of songs like Funk For the People and Boom Baby Boom, and the rock power of Bitter End and We Can Do It. The album accentuates everything that makes her a powerhouse to be watched and adored.
The resurgence of 80’s synthesized funk is immediately evident in this list as it made an appearance a few times and Mofak is no exception to that trend. He is well entrenched into the sound and plays it as if he’s been entrenched in the music since he was a baby.
Mofak specializes in the talkbox and is completely wrapped into the Zapp and Roger mold in a full-blown way that is a feast for fans of that genre and time. It is beyond a doubt an impressive album that also features collaborations with acts like Kokane and Dee-Loc.
France has made a few appearances on the list this year, and Old School Funky Family is no exception. They’ve been around for 16 years and have 4 albums to their name, but it’s the first time on our radar since they’re overseas in Europe.
The funk influences are definitely here and evident and when a band puts “funk” in the band, you know what to expect. Expect the sound of Maceo, mixed with Vulfpeck and a dash of Fela Kuti added in for good measure.
This is the first appearance from a Canadian band on this year’s list. The Brooks came out of the left field to deliver a super funky album that lives very close to the edge of featuring James Brown‘ish bumps with J Dilla levels of experimentation.
Their latest album Any Day Now continues their unique approach to not just creating a funk album, but dancing right on the precipice of something very different that is exactly what the funk world needs right now.
Five Alarm Funk is a band from another planet. The energy level they have in a live setting is beyond comprehension. They dress up in ape suits, ride stick ponies, and sometimes even wear tight booty shorts.
What is probably even more impressive is their ability to package that energy and have it transferred to the studio recordings which many bands can’t seem to replicate. Now add in a guest appearance by Bootsy Collins and you have an album that will funk your face off.
Mofo Rising based out of Chicago was a complete and delightful surprise. The band has been around 30 years since 1990, but as far as we can tell, this is their first album release which is truly shocking.
Their marketing is limited to Facebook and Bandcamp, but their music has absolutely no limits in the funk world. They are beyond a doubt one of the funkiest bands we’ve heard in ages. They say it best. Stink stank stunk. A big fat sack of deep dank psychedelic funk.
We can honestly say that this is the first time that we have ever had a funk band on our list from Estonia. Lexsoul Dancemachine hails from a small European country tucked below Finland and Sweden. If you’re going to stand out, this is how you do it.
An active band since 2013, this six-man band slashes out funk like it’s an emergency and it’s your lifeline. It’s like getting a B-12 shot to your face for direct between the eyes funk vaccination.
WE HAVE FIVE BONUSES!
We have FIVE bonuses for you this year. Some are reissues, collections, EP’s and some that are funky, different, and just fantastic. Enjoy!
It’s no surprise that this album would end up on this list. And like last year’s 1999 Super Deluxe, you simply can’t ignore Sign O’ The Times Super Deluxe and it’s nearly FOUR DOZEN unreleased tracks. We still realize that the funk-purists are going to roll their eyes, but really?
How can you not recognize this wealth of unreleased tracks and legendary bootlegs that now are finally seeing the light of day and some that many didn’t know even existed? You can’t.
Brotherly completely caught us off-guard. If you judged the music by the album cover, you would expect a duo sitting on a bench putting out acoustic jams. That’s not what this is at all!
On their new album Analects, it is track after track of incredible jazz-funk tracks beautifully done with Lisa Stansfield style vocals. The album was put together very well with an incredibly well-thought-out flow. This is the pleasant surprise of the list.
Salaam Remi‘s Black on Purpose is the album that had to happen in the society we live in today. It’s Black Lives Matter on wax with hard messages from The Roots‘ Black Thought, Busta Rhymes, and Common.
Then the album is just as layered out with vocals from artists like CeeLo Green, Bilal, Anthony Hamilton, Jennifer Hudson, and so many others. It’s an album full of direct and potent messages that you will never forget.
Many weren’t aware of MonoNeon‘s antics until his work put him in the path of Prince and he began working as Prince‘s bassist on his latest incarnation of a Madhouse-style project.
MonoNeon is known for his bass with the sock on the end and over the top silliness woven into funky bass riffs that have you scratching your head. All of that is right here in his newest collection of tracks. About the only thing missing is more tracks as this album clocks in at only 30 minutes. More, please!
Mico Wave was a beast in the 80’s with his debut album Cookin From The Inside Out and then he went dark for decades. But every year, Mico Wave continued recording and just began stockpiling music in his own personal vault.
The Definition EP is the beginning of his journey to start unveiling the tracks he’s been recording over the years. Like a few raindrops before the hurricane. Check out Funkatopia’s exclusive interview with Mico Wave for the full story on the recordings, and what’s coming down the pike.
Extra Bonuses from YOU!
That should be enough to tide you over, but every year our readers keep us in the loop on releases that we missed or that they feel should have been here. And most of the time, they are SO right!
Check the suggestions below from you! But remember the rules!
- The albums must be funk
- The album must have been released in 2020
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 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