When you hear the word Funk, what do you think of? I mean, besides a distinct and strong thing that hits your sense of smell like a freight train; something unbelievably distracting and disrupting. Well, it kind of is That isn’t it?… only with your sense of hearing? This music I mean. I love trolling though comments and seeing some of the reactions to these jams featured on this site. My favorite comment towards this song so far I’ve come across is, “That’s so Funky I can smell it through the phone!”
With that in mind, Tom Browne makes a true representation of this meaning when he recorded “Funkin’ for Jamaica (N.Y.).” Yes, that’s right he was actually reppin’ Jamaica, NY. Click here to hear it from the man himself and see a cool inside look at the story behind the song. In the video, it’s easy to see the pure joy these musicians are experiencing while recording. So pure that it resonates very strongly still today. When people say, “they don’t make them like that anymore,” this is the crux of what they mean.
But is music today fundamentally different? I would say in some ways no. A lot of music is as intense and as protesting as back then with the inspired essence of raw emotion and feeling we call soul and Funk. There is simply a different spirit I hear today and I think the different is almost as simple as that. I have been noticing popular music today and really breaking it down musically andstylistically and realize that yes, we have very talented musicians today. I am thinking of Cee lo, Bruno Mars, I could go on and on; they are great stewards of the old school spirit and very solid artists as well. But when you listen to some of it, yes some of it grooves like Tom Browne, but you can’t help but admit something is different.
On the other hand, one song I was checking out on the radio last week I counted a total of three notes total with a monotone chorus throughout the entire song. Technically, is this music? I know, here we go right? NO I am still not bashing all of today’s music. There was crap music made back then too! What I would call some of it is a chant if you will. That’s where some of today’s attitude is. A grooving, intense, almost war-like chant. It represents what Funk was representing back then, the thought that on some level we are at war and this is our battle cry.
However, when you listen to “Funkin’ for Jamaica” you will see that this song is a celebration. “…I feel it, inside my soul, let it get into you”. There was a positive buzz in the atmosphere that the band created, captured, packaged and sends it out to us every time we hear it. Feel good music. Soul music. Funk music.