Episode #113 – Badd Kitti’s Top 20 New Funk Albums You Should Know

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Everybody’s Funkin’ and it’s Right On Time! 

Funk has been making a comeback over the past few years and 2019 was its Best Year Yet. Funk legends Chaka Khan, Brand New Heavies, Cameo, Morris Day and Pleasure all released new music last year. And there were several Smokin’ compilation albums, including a Prince reissue – 1999 (Super Deluxe Edition) featuring previously unreleased tracks, *Woodstock Sunday August 17, 1969 (Live) from Sly and the Family Stone, the complete recording of the band’s legendary Woodstock performance, The Complete Cotillion Albums from Slave and The Meters’ The Complete Albums 1969-1977 (Source: Funkitopia.com)

Funk is Alive And Well and the Future Looks Bright

But just as great as new content from these celebrated Funksters are the TONS of new Funk releases from young, upcoming artists! So, with that being said, in no particular order, here are my favorite 20 New Funk Releases that I think you’ll want to know about. Funk On!

Legacy Artists
TBNH TBNH /The Brand New Heavies And N’Dea Davenport

This year’s best new music from a funk legend, The Brand New Heavies’ timeless sound never gets old.
The album features the return of N’Dea Davenport, their best vocal lead IMO, and a collaboration with none other than Kendrick Lamar.
Favorite Track
These Walls

chaka_khan_-_hello_happiness Hello Happiness / Chaka Kahn

Her first release in over 10 years, the album received mixed reviews, but I loved this new sound from Chaka.
While a short release (only seven tracks), and with some songs sounding a bit under produced, I’m hoping this was an “experimental project, and that there’s more to come from the “Queen of Funk”!
Favorite Tracks
Like Sugar,
Hello Happiness

plasure Now is the Time / Pleasure

Good ol’ classic Funk is what you’ll get with the latest release from Pleasure.
The band had respectable hits in the mid to late 70s with Joyous, Yearnin’ Burnin’ and their most successful, Glide. Now, w
heir first release in 40 years, the band sounds better than ever. A solidly written and produced album hampered by poor marketing and promotion. Worth having in your collection.
Favorite Track
For Your Pleasure

RaphaelSadiq-Jimmy Lee Jimmy Lee / Raphael Saadiq

Jimmy Lee is a deep, soulful tribute to Raphael Saadiq’s brother, who died of a heroin overdose.
With vivid lyrics and grooves ranging from hardcore funk to hymn-like anthems, Saadiq transports us into the sometimes hopeful, sometimes spiritual and ultimately painful journey of the addict. Strong gospel roots blended with heavy psychedelic grooves reveal the influence of Sly Stone. A Must.
Favorite Track
LOVE the entire album but can’t stop listening to
I’m Feeling Love

outer peace Outer Peace / Toro Y Moi

Chaz Bundick, aka “Toro y Moi”  has produced consistently worthwhile music for over a decade. Outer Peace is his 8th studio album and it does not disappoint. Bundick’s ever thoughtful lyrics, supported by his lush layers of sound, beefy bass and a huge helping of groove are always on my menu.
Favorite Track
Ordinary Pleasure

New Releases
Regurgitated Youth Regurgitated Youth /Garrett Shider

FUNK ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Garrett Shider, aka Star Child Jr. FINALLY released his much anticipated Regurgitated Youth, and it was worth the wait – my favorite of 2019.
The legacy of P-Funk will live on through the Funkalishious grooves of this legend in the making.
In the words of “I’m a Funkadelic’, one of my favorite tracks on the album:
“Spreading the vibes, so good that the s*** should be illegal.
Blowing your mind, with a groove that’s known to be lethal”!  – ‘Nuff said.
Favorite Track
EVERY track is Funktastic, tough to pick a favorite, but I’m A Funkadelic, is the PERFECT Funkateer theme song!

Tuxedo III Tuxedo III / Tuxedo

Boogie Funk is all the rage now-a-days, and Tuxedo is one of the best. Their jams are always fun, and remind me of youthful days, and summer breaks with nothin’ to do but hang out and party.
‘Shy’, their 2018 collab with Zapp was one of my favorites of that year. They’ve done it again with a great match up with Tony! Toni! Toné!
Favorite Track
Own Thang
(Feat. Tony! Toni! Toné!)

To Be Announced I’m Your Man /Jara Harris & Slapbak

Jara Harris is a twenty year veteran of the LA Funk scene. He has amassed an impressive body of work, that has both a heavy P-Funk influence and an original flare. “I’m Your Man” is the single release off of an album that I’m anticipating with bated breath. Keep your eye on this Cat!
Favorite Track
I’m Your Man (single)

Honeycomb Honeycomb / Kwaku Asante

It’s only a matter of time until Kwaku Asante becomes a household name. With his debut EP, Honeycomb, the project’s first single, “Molasses”, is a funk-filled voyage filled with a groove-soaked bass line that’s impossible not to shake a leg to. Just as you become enamored with the instrumentation, his scorching vocals sear through the mix and instantly steal the show. (Source complex.com)
Favorite Track
Molasses

at first light At First Light / Lynda Dawn

My pick for BEST NEW FUNK ARTIST 2019.
It’s rare that a female Funkateer steps up as vocalist, instrumentalist and composer. Dawn’s first EP release is giving me 80s life with a laid back 90s feel. Lynda Dawn is smooth and groovy, and reminds me of my absolute idol, Patrice Rushen.
Favorite Track
Move

sweet insomnia Sweet Insomnia / Free Nationals

Critics be DAMED, Anderson Paak’s backing band releases their debut solo album, and it’s a keeper. Yes, it sounds like Paak – and that’s a bad thing? The band absolutely needs to grow and find their voice, But in the mean time, I’m diggin’ the “indigenous Funk”!
Favorite Track:
On Sight

balance Balance / UMI

Seattle born, LA based singer/songwriter UMI is poised to become the next unstoppable R&B songstress à la Jorja Smith. A student at University of Southern California, the songwriter incorporates a mix of alternative neo-soul, R&B and lo-fi production seamlessly into her work in a way which feels, at once, both timeless and timely. (Source: onestowatch.com)
Favorite Track:
Ordinary

han HAN / Berhana

Berhana first broke through with his 2016 single “Janet”. Now, inspired by Japanese Funk, on his debut genre defying release,  Berhana mixes rock, soul, funk and influences ranging from Sam Cooke, Erykah Badu, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson, to bring a sound that is all his own.
Favorite Track
Lucky Strike

for thse mmnts For Those Moments / Amber-Simone

Recorded over the past two years, Amber-Simone’s new project is a welcome throw back to the fresh, funky grooves of the post-disco era. Sometimes called R&B/Soul, Alternative R&B and just about everything but Funk – but it sounds like Funk to me, and I like it! Simone’s vocal was supported by spot on production from Karma Kid, Joe Hertz, Franc Moody and Duval Timothy.
Favorite Track
Strawberry Kisses

bubba BUBBA / Kaytranada

Kaytranada’s melodic dance tracks are both a pleasure to groove and listen to. Collaborations with Pharrell, Estelle and Kali Uchis, to name a few.
Sit back and let the music wash over you. A front-to-back burner.
Favorite Track
10% ft. Kali Uchis

amplified experiment.jpg Amplified Experiment /The APX

Y’all already know, I LOVE me some APX! Husband and wife duo Dee and Erika Rhodes have the most authentic 80s Boogie sound out there, but yet it still feels fresh, and not merely an imitation.
Erika’s super strong vocal rivals Angela Winbush, while Dee’s production skills are simply superb. The album also features a collab with ZAPP!
Get some APX in your life!
Favorite Track
Deja Vu

freekbass All the Way This. All the Way That. / Freekbass

I love Freekbas as a musician and entertainer. However, I think his production tends to be overly glossy and Pop-ish.
His latest release is no exception, and in particular, Sammi Garett’s vocal is a bit too Taylor Swift to be on a Funk record.
That being said, Freekbass is definitely part of the Funk lexicon and his bass playing alone is always worth a listen.
Favorite Track
‘Stepping Outta Line’ is my sentimental favorite. The last track to feature Joel “Razor Sharp” Johnson before his untimely passing in 2018.

elevate.jpg Elevate / Lettuce

Lettuce is a band known for innovation and creative expression set to an undeniable beat. Their latest album, Elevate, out June 14th on Lettuce Records, is the group at their best; intricate and genre-defying. Both sexy and sophisticated in equal measure, Elevate, is the group’s sixth studio album and their first release of original music in three years. While the music certainly retains the tripped out funk Lettuce has perfected, it also showcases a strong forward-looking vibe. A surefire pleaser for die-hard fans and new listeners alike (Source: thewaster.com)
Favorite Track
Royal Highness

hitthe ceiling Hit The Ceiling / Isaac Waddington

Isaac Waddington was introduced to the world on the TV talent show “Britan’s Got Talent”, This incredibly soulful artist released his debut album “Borselli”, in 2018 and followed up this year with four single releases; “Make it Better”, “Let Me in Your Heart”, “Loving You is Easy” and “Hit The Ceiling”. He is definitely an artist to watch.
Favorite Track
Hit the Ceiling is the classic Funk track, but all tracks are worth a listen

rudey barnes Don’t Stop the Groove / Rudy Barnes

One listen to this track, and it’s no surprise that Rudey Barnes is a kindred spirit to James Brown. From his bio:
“ Born as the great-nephew of The J.B.’s founding members Original Funky Diva Vicki Anderson and Bobby Byrd of James Brown & the Famous Flames – family has always been a big influence on young Rudey.
Barnes has forged an esteemed career working and/or sharing the stage with top artists, producers, and executives such as Destiny’s Child, Chris Brown, Trey Songz, Solange, Drake, Justin Bieber, Omarion, Ray-J, Miguel, and Mathew Knowl.
I have no doubt we’re going to hear more from this exciting young artist.
Favorite Track:
Don’t Stop The Groove (single)

Apollo XXI Apollo XXI / Steve Lacy

Steve Lacy, guitarist for The Internet, steps out on his own and serves up a modern take on old school psychedelic funk that is absolutely intoxicating –  like going deep inside someone’s trippy dream.
Apollo XXI ranges from soulful ballads to rock hard grooves such as Guide, a straight Funk jam ala Mandrill. Can’t wait for more!
Favorite Track:
Guide

hypervig Hypervigilant / Steven A Clark

Hypervigilant, Clark’s third release, fuses effects laden rock guitar, synths and vocals, with a deep, driving pulse to produce a sometimes heavy, emotion driven album, fueled by the pain of a failing relationship. Prince is definitely an influence, but the sound is all Clark. Listen a few times and let it sink in.
Favorite Track
Happiness

the last party The Last Party / Matt Martians

Matt Martin aka Matt Martians, was a founding member of Los Angeles hip hop collective Odd Future and is also a member of The Internet, and a host of other Odd Future sub-groups.
His second solo release, Martians shares the effects heavy, spacey production style of fellow band mate, Steve Lacy, although his music is less trippy and has a bit more commercial appeal. Lush, laid back grooves with an occasional touch of Jazz are the focus of this project, and it feels good.
Favorite Track
Movie On / Southern Isolation2

analog dreams Analog Dreams / BLAKBOT

BLAKBOT is a dance music collective composed of Kenyatta Scott, DJ Donne, and U.K.’s DAZ-I-KUE. The trio combines electronic sounds with traditional soulful, funky and Jazz elements, drawing on the rich heritage of American Soul and Dance music to create a truly standout sound. Analog Dreams is a Dance music suite with songs ranging from House, Detroit techno to Salsa, Samba to Rock, Funk and more. A definite Groove
Favorite Track
D’s Groove

fourfront FourFront / Zo!

The Master of Mellow, Zo!’s 8th studio release, FourFront, is brimming with the silky smooth grooves we’ve come to know and love him for. His Roy Ayers’ jazz funk style is evident in a great way on these tracks. A consistently good project, just start from the top and let it play.
Favorite Track
On The Four feat. Carmen Rodgers

Noteworthy
31 Thirty One / Laville
reparate Reparate / Nicole Willis
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