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P*Funk Review Stolen Legacy


  • you’re absolutely correct herr funkmeister

    I’m just way too tired today to say much more..

  • The techno/triphop thing obviously has strong links to hip hop, and a lot of techno artists are white, but I don’t think it’s "stealing" for techno artists to take inspiration or borrow ideas from hip hop artists. If hip hop artists are smart, they’ll borrow from techno, too.

    Was Otis Redding "stealing" when he covered "Try a Little Tenderness"?

    Were Ray Charles and Al Green "stealing" when they covered country & western tunes?

    Was George Clinton "stealing" when he studied Beatles records to help him develop his ideas for early P-Funk

  • I totally agree with Bob…the fact is European artists have covered hits from black artists since the big band days of the 30s and 40s. Even now, there is a country cover of La Macarena climbing the country charts.

    I think your view of George Clinton "studying" the Beatles is pretty much an exaggeration…and black artists covering country hits is a much smaller happening than the opposite.

    Ever see Robert Townsend’s THE FIVE HEARTBEATS?? One scene shows a white record company exec "loving" the HEARTBEATS’ song NOTHIN’ BUT LOVE…then trying to convince the group the song would be better done by a white pop group. This was a STANDARD in the music industry through the 1960s. To take it one step further, once a white producer got the rights for their white pop band to cover a black hit, that same producer would then steal the publishing rights TO that song. I am sure you have seen black songwriters suing for the rights to THEIR hit 50s and 60s songs through the 80s and 90s…and quite a few have recovered damages. Black artists "stealing" from white artists??? Me thinks NOT!! Study the history

    btw….I’m a former TOP 40 DJ…former club DJ…pop AND funk music historian (but NO match for "Da ‘Train (g)")!!!

  • Of COURSE I see the pattern…and the thievery began with NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK in the late 80s. Take the music…homogenize it, soften it for the mainstream, and BOOM…hip hop for "the masses". Check my earlier response …it’s HISTORY…and if you look at the "smooth jazz" movement starting in the late 80s (Kenny G, David Benoit, Yanni, the "NEW AGE" sound…NOT counting TRUE jazz artists like David Sanborn and Lee Ritenour…) the pattern continually repeats itself. No prob tho…we know who the innovators are

  • It is "almost happening" for hip hop. Groups like the Chemical Brothers and Goldie (well, Goldie is one guy) admit their love for hip hop, but despise the "trip hop" label, even though every other magazine is calling themselves that.

    And a few rap groups (most notably the Wu-Tang Clan) have worked with "trip-hop" artists, including the Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy, and Genaside II.

    But I do hope that when one listens to a song like "Firestarter", they don’t think "oh, so THAT is what hip hopis". Fortunately, these new groups establish what they are. It’s when you have someone admitting they are hip hop and it’s really no more than very fast dance music, then you got

    yourself a problem.

    But how about reverse logic? There’s a great DJ from California, a white guy, named DJ Shadow. He is signed to Mo’Wax, who are known for their innovative sounds and creative record covers (all you vinyl junkies know what I’m talking about). Immediately, he was labeled "trip-hop" simply because his music did not have any MC’s. It was instrumental heaven. But DJ Shadow, who grew up with hip hop, said no, this is a hip hop album and it should be listened to as such. All of a sudden, there are articles on the man saying he gives hip hop a kick in the you-know-what.

    But I think it’s definitely knowledge of where the music is from, the origins, that will keep the music alive and strong. Regardless of where it goes, we all know where it’s been and that will keep it going for many years to come.

  • (The techno/triphop thing obviously has strong links to hip hop, and a lot of techno artists are white)

I don’t see "Techno" as any real threat to hip hop. What I do for see happening there is that there is a strong division between what I will call "real hip hop" & "eMpTV style hip hop". I see Black hip hoppers in NYC taking the music back to the streets and once again developing their own production, distribution and marketing channels for the music that will have nothing to do with the mainstream…..

I also see these same artists completely divorcing themselves from the existing "hip hop structure" and moving in a completely different direction. This direction will be much more positive and have a much stronger connection to the rich African-American musical tradition (ex Erykah, Digable Planets, etc) than what we see today.

Meanwhile the "eMpTV style hip hop" will continue to flourish in suburbia and the hinterlands and it will also continue to have a "Black face", but these "Black faces" will continue be mere puppets controlled by the powers that be within the commercial entertainment industry who will continue to embrace the likes of "Biggie/Tupac"………..

….I already see the evidence of this in the streets of NY where I see young people once again selling tapes on the streets containing new/original music. I also see quite a bit coming from the "acid jazz" (hip hop/jazz) movement that I really like, but I haven’t really gotten in to it as much as I should…..but I will soon !!……:)

  • What I am really talking about is economic theft not so much artistic theft, it’s as though the industry is saying that:

    "we will let you create the music, but we will make the money off of it"

    Hip Hop is no longer "rebellious ghetto music made in parks and basements". Nowadays it’s big business and is part of the mainstream of American life. Everything from TV commercials, fashion & even mainstream politics now contain references to hip hop.

Black people aren’t allowed to control anything that is part of the mainstream of American life. That is a fact !!

  • Keep this topic going I have much to say about this one .But first let me do a little research ,simply cause I must have my facts straight for this one.

  • I also have seen this pattern and have addressed it time and time again on the air, as well as private conversations with many people , including yourself over the years. In addition I have been witness to this practice by going to Blues shows and being the only Black person there with the exception of the artists on stage.

    We currently see the Jazz charts being dominated by mediocre White artists, while older and younger Black artists still struggle for air play and recognition, even on so-called public radio. The new trend in this further oppression also occurs on the "smooth jazz" stations around the country, that not only gives limited air play to Black artists, but also has a very small percentage of African Americans working at these stations. As far as Rock and other forms of Pop music go, the supremacist legacy continues with limited or no airplay and the exclusion of Black artists when discussing the history of the music in a serious discussion.

    You see, White journalists give their biased opinion and the numbers of Black folks writing about this subject either deny this or use their miseducation to misinform the public. (Brainwashing) I’m sorry folks I just can’t accept this practice, nor can I ignore what has been and is happening. Our legacy is too rich. I will discuss this further.

  • Good point, I noticed this about 15 yrs ago.I can recall living in Austin, Texas (SRV home)and going to see him in concert and on the same bill was Albert King.I noticed that me and my roommate were the only blacks in the place. Also the college stations and public radio stations have the resources and money the promote Jazz and blues.

We all know what sells in the music industry.

  • (I have been witness to this practice by going to Blues shows and being the only Black person there with the exception of the artists on stage)

    Damn……at all of the ones I have gone to (except for the Juneteenth Blues Festival of course) there have always been at least 2 or 3 others besides me……:)

We all know that what you are saying here is the truth, but why do you suppose that is ?

  • (I’m going to a Blues festival in May….& will probably make 2 or 3 new friends there…they will be easy for me to find……(s)

  • I have also had similar experiences at Blues concerts both in the North & in the South.

    Why do you suppose that Blacks don’t seem to support the Blues ?

  • Good Question

    I have no idea why younger black won’t support a true art form. Maybe the blame comes from both ends of the spectrum. On one end you have young brothers and sisters not even trying to understand the legacy behind this "FORM OF EXPRESSION".

    And on the other end of the spectrum you have the clubs where the blues artist are playing, there’s usually a high cover charge at the door and the drinks are $10 a pop.

  • I am happy to report that the Blues scene here in the Philly area is alive & well. They have several big time festivals every year, several Blues clubs and there are even Blues programs on the radio. Of course Philly has got a large Black population, but there is little participation by Blacks in these various Blues activities around here.

    Several years ago while attending the Philadelphia "River Blues Festival" I asked one of the performers (who shall remain nameless this question) and his opinion was that "We just let white people take stuff from us all the time"….

    Frankly, I don’t know the answer to the question. Personally the Blues were something I didn’t even get in to myself until I was in my mid 20’s. I certainly didn’t grow up with it & neither did my parents.

It certainly is a shame to see this great art form completely neglected by it’s creators.

  • Very true

    I grew up in the rural south and there with many blues shows going on, most were every Sat. afternoons when the older men would pull out guitars and start playing. We usually laughed at these old men cause most them had been drinking a little bit to much (s).

But one day I remember one old gentleman saying to us "ya’ll keep on livin you’ll bound to get the blues one day," and low and behold I think I’ve had the blues a time are two myself.

  • I really didn’t get exposed to the Blues in a real sense till I was living in Houston, Texas.

    My first exposure came via the Juneteenth Blues festival. My second came in your state while visiting "relatives I never knew I had before", just outside of Baton Rouge, La. in the Zachary/Baker area.

    Down that way the old men would sit in their trucks and play Blues 8-tracks, while drinking Crown Royal out of….paper cups. They would always invite me in for a drink and to listen to the music.

    The music that they were listening to would completely blow me away…."Electric Muddy Waters, Little Walter, John Lee Hooker, etc"

It was some of the hardest rocking music that I had ever

heard & it completely changed my whole perception of what the blues were all about.

These places weren’t really "rural" but they seemed that… way to me & I was sorta surprised that there was even electricity there, no less "superFUNKYelectricDOWNhomeBLUES"

I was completely blown away & have been a fan of the music ever since. I’m glad that I got the oppurtunity to first learn about this music from the "originators" !!

"Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom…"

  • I believe the blues that roam this area, and up river in the delta is where it all started. I’m sure if you could find the beginning of funk it was bound to pass thru some of these areas.

  • While I’m certain that FUNK passed thru the Delta on it’s never ending voyage, I suspect that the pyramids are the logical starting point for the FUNK !!

"Afronauts" ?????

  • Hey those statues on Easter Island look REAL funky to me, maybe the funk start there.??

  • Easter Island FUNK ………..who knows ????

    But I can say that wherever or however it started I’m glad t’s here.

    But let’s explore this for a bit…..There are many folks out there who are under the impression that FUNK starts & ends with George Clinton/P-Funk. They will swear up & down that only P-Funk is FUNK. Why do you suppose that is when George himself has said that he did not invent FUNK ?

"It used to be a bad word….."

  • Good point,

    I’ve noticed this lately myself, I’ve loaned my Funk book(by Rickey Vincent) out of numerous occasions .I feel this book gives a great insight into this question pose.I recently started taking a few college courses and I noticed that it’s a big funk following among young white kids, and the first mention of funk from there mouths are George Clinton/P-funk/Mothership.

    To me this is all fine and dandy, and I love to see great musicals finally getting there just do, but on the other hand this seems to a bit like a frontal view of the true funk. To put it humorously, it’s like wondering which came first the chicken are the Egg (s).But I won’t go into this argument now, but I will allude to the fact that funk music has so many angles in which you can say who started it. Example: In my opinion I think the blues and gospel started the funk, or you could say that the R&B from the 50’s and 60’s started it.

    This is what I was saying in reference to the "Easter Island" comment and other comment I usually make about funk music, "It’s so deep you’ll spend 6 lifetimes digging and only get one foot deep."(s) Oh yea and that’s probably how long it would take for the rest of the P-Funk mob to get there money outta you know who. (g)

  • : I see it and agree w/ you. but as Sting ,Keith Richards ,Led Zep etc. all admit to stealing music from other artistsbe it black or white. I see that as a common theme over music history. I admire the artist i.e., Richards that rise above it, and say I don’t care if band x,y,z has ripped my riffs/songs off. –Ohio Players-ripped -Sly Stone-,IMO. -Jim

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