- Best Overall Funk Album:
- Best Funk Albums by Subgenre
- Best Funk Albums of the Last Decade
Here are the best funk CDs to add to your collection. This list includes a mix of old-school and contemporary funk albums.
Best Overall Funk Album:
Parliament’s Mothership Connection is one of the most important and influential funk albums of all time. The album is a perfect blend of Parliament’s signature P-Funk sound with elements of disco, rock, and soul. The album also features some of Parliament’s most iconic tracks, including “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker),” “Flash Light,” and “Mothership Connection (Star Child).”
George Clinton- Mothership Connection
George Clinton’s iconic album Mothership Connection was released in 1975 and is widely considered one of the best funk albums of all time. The album features Clinton’s signature mix of funk, soul, and rock and is credited with popularizing the genre. Clinton’s unique style and sound influenced a generation of musicians and helped to shape the sound of popular music in the late 20th century.
Sly and the Family Stone- There’s a Riot Goin’ On
There’s a Riot Goin’ On is the eleventh studio album by American funk band Sly and the Family Stone, released on November 20, 1971 by Epic Records. It was recorded during the group’s turbulent final two years, and is often regarded as their darkest and most political record. Its title refers to growing unrest in the United States at the time.
There’s a Riot Goin’ On entered the charts at number one upon its release and became Sly and the Family Stone’s second consecutive album to do so. It eventually sold over three million copies, making it their best-selling album, and has been ranked highly on several publications’ year-end and decade-end lists. In 2003, There’s a Riot Goin’ On was ranked number 99 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and in 2012 it was ranked number 176 on their updated version of that list.
James Brown- Sex Machine
Released in 1970, Sex Machine is one of the most influential funk albums of all time. James Brown’s high-energy rhythms and sexually charged lyrics laid the foundation for the entire genre, and this album is considered his magnum opus. Featuring hits like “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” and “Super Bad,” this record is sure to get your body moving.
Best Funk Albums by Subgenre
Funk music started in the late 1960s and is a style of soul music that has a groove-oriented sound. Funk music is often described as having a “tight” sound and is known for its use of syncopated rhythms, polyrhythms, and call-and-response vocals. If you’re a fan of funk music, check out our list of the best funk albums by subgenre.
P-Funk, short for Parliament Funkadelic, is a subgenre of funk music described as a fusion of R&B, soul, rock and roll, and psychedelic rock. This unique style of music was pioneered in the late 1960s and early 1970s by George Clinton and his band Parliament Funkadelic.
P-Funk was characterized by its use of long, convoluted jams, catchy hooks, extended percussion solos, and a focus on the groove. The style was often associated with drug use and hedonistic lifestyles, which Clinton embraced in both his music and his stage shows.
P-Funk quickly gained a following among African American audiences, but it also crossed over into the mainstream thanks to hits like Parliament’s “Flash Light” and Funkadelic’s “One Nation Under a Groove.” The popularity of P-Funk waned in the 1980s as disco and new wave supplanted it as the dominant form of black popmusic, but Clinton’s influence can still be heard in the work of contemporary artists like OutKast and Kendrick Lamar.
Here are 10 essential P-Funk albums that every funk fan should own:
1. Parliament – Funkadelic (1970)
2. Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (1971)
3. Parliament – Up for the Down Stroke (1974)
4. Bootsy Collins – The One Giveth, the Count Taketh Away (1982)
5. Parliament – Daisy Age (1986)
6. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Freaky Styley (1985)
7. Fishbone – Truth & Soul (1988)
8. Primus – Sailing the Seas of Cheese (1991)
9. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)
10. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly (2015)
Booty music, also sometimes called rap/hip hop, bounce, club music, Miami bass or just bass, is a subgenre of hip hop music that features a deep bassline and often sexually suggestive lyrics. Booty music was popularized in the South in the early 1990s by artists like DJ Magic Mike, David Guetta and Mr. Mixx of 2 Live Crew. The genre has since spread to other parts of the country and has even been embraced by some pop and R&B artists like Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé.
G-funk, short for gangsta-funk, is a subgenre of hip hop music that emerged from West Coast rap in the early 1990s. The style is characterized by D.I.Y. production, samples from 1970s funk records, and rapping about topics such as crime, poverty, and gang life. early G-funk artists include Dr. Dre, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Warren G., and Eazy-E.
Best Funk Albums of the Last Decade
Funk music has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, with many modern artists taking inspiration from the genre’s rich history. If you’re looking to get into funk, or just want to expand your collection, these are the best funk albums of the last decade.
D’Angelo- Black Messiah
Black Messiah is the third studio album by American singer, songwriter, and musician D’Angelo. It was released on December 15, 2014, by RCA Records, bringing an end to his fourteen-year hiatus between studio albums following 2000’s Voodoo. The album was produced entirely by D’Angelo and features contributions from his band The Vanguard. Black Messiah received acclaim from music critics, who ranked it among the year’s best albums. It debuted at number five on the Billboard 200 chart and became D’Angelo’s highest-charting album in the United States.
Kendrick Lamar- To Pimp a Butterfly
Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” is one of the best funk albums of the last decade. Released in early 2015, the album immediately shot to the top of the charts and has remained there ever since.
Lamar’s hyper-aware lyrics are biting and incisive, but they’re also funny and self-deprecating. His ability to switch from one emotion to another in an instant is what makes him such a compelling rapper, and it’s on full display on “To Pimp a Butterfly.”
The album’s production is dense and complicated, with layers of sound that unfold over time. It’s a challenging listen, but one that rewards multiple spins.
If you’re looking for a funk album that will make you think as well as make you dance, Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” is essential listening.
Janelle Monáe- Dirty Computer
Dirty Computer is the third studio album by American singer Janelle Monáe, released on April 27, 2018, by Wondaland Records and Bad Boy Records. It is an concept album with a accompanying film of the same name, which was released on YouTube in conjunction with the album’s announcement on April 26.
Monáe enlisted a wide range of collaborators for Dirty Computer, including Wondaland co-founder St. Beauty, rappers Zoey Dollaz and Grimes, and producers Pharrell Williams and Chuck Lightning. The album is a departure from Monáe’s previous work in that it is more personal and political, with Monáe describing it as “anemotion picture”, a “neo-psychedelic” work that stands as a “sonic protest” against Donald Trump’s presidency, police brutality in the United States, and societal norms regarding race and gender.
Critical reception for Dirty Computer was positive, with many critics praising Monáe’s songwriting and vocal performance as well as the production values of the album and film. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 86 based on 25 reviews. Several publications included Dirty Computer on their year-end lists of the best albums of 2018; it was ranked at number 35 by Rolling Stone, number 14 by NME, and number 11 by Time. The lead single “Make Me Feel” won Best Video at the MTV Video Music Awards Japan 2019.