Funk. Not exactly the most popular genre in the music scene today. And you don’t see it as a highlighted genre in FanLabel’s weekly contests. 

Or do you? 

If you look (and listen) a little closer, you will likely find Funk woven throughout the Pop, Hip-Hop, Alternative and even Country songs in our genre-based contests. 

Born in the 1960s, funk is a hybrid of soul and uptempo jazz. Characterized by a strong emphasis on rhythm carried by the drummer and bassist, funk often incorporates brass melodies and catchy vocals. Funk owes itself to a roster of visionary musicians including James Brown, Sly Stone, Chaka Khan and George Clinton. 

Over the years, funk has influenced countless genres through both inspiration and actual sampling. One of the most direct genre offshoots inspired by funk took shape in clubs early in 1980s Chicago, when DJs and producers began to mix funk with the new electronic sounds coming out of Europe. This new hybrid, referred to as house, was an adequate replacement for the then-dying disco. Still growing to this day, it slowly permeated into the mainstream circuit. 

House can be heard on virtually every Top 40 radio station and nightclub in the world. Several other genre offshoots followed suit, including Detroit techno, new-school R&B, G-Funk, and more. All of these genres owe themselves in part to the funk of the 1970s.

Of all the genres influenced by funk, one particular offshoot stands out due to its sheer popularity. Hip-hop was born in the late 1970s in New York City, when DJs mixed Caribbean influences with funk and disco. 

Hip-hop grew with each decade, spawning countless subgenres and permanently embedding itself in American culture. Without the melodic and rhythmic influence of funk, today’s most listened-to genre might never have existed at all.

No artist better encapsulates funk’s influence on hip-hop than Anderson .Paak. Growing in popularity with each release, this extremely talented SoCal musician has brought funk-inspired hits to the ears of today’s listeners. 

Collaborating with rap giants like Mac Miller and Kendrick Lamar, Anderson .Paak has been featured heavily in our hip-hop contests. In fact, he’s our cover image for Hip-Hop Weekly. Anderson .Paak is not alone, however, as many of today’s top hip-hop artists draw significant influence from funk. Chance the Rapper, Kendrick Lamar, Smino, GoldLink, and the late Mac Miller have all incorporated funk into many of their top releases.

Many pop songs that you might recognize from our Pop Weekly contests are also inspired either directly or indirectly by funk. Calvin Harris, Jason Derulo, Khalid, Mayer Hawthorne and Lizzo have all released hit songs that fall into the category of funk.

Funk’s influence can still be heard in countless pop songs that aren’t categorizable as funk, including hits by Ariana Grande, Jessie Reyez, Charlie Puth and more. 

The legacy of funk can be heard across countless genres today, and there is little doubt that it will continue to inspire innovation in music for the foreseeable future.