Funk originates in the late 60s, when African American artists created a new form of danceable and rhythmic music mixing soul, R&B, and jazz. Funk is characterized by rhythmic groove of the bass guitar, dynamic syncopated rhythms and specific foreground funk drumming.
James Brown is considered as the first musicians to bring funk music in the complete form. However, he wouldn’t have done this without the influence of Little Richard (Good Golly Miss Molly). In 50s, Little Richard introduced funk elements in his music with a rock and roll band Upsetters. When Upsetters disbanded, the musicians joined Famous Flames, Brown’s group.
The records released from 1965 (Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag) to 1968 (Say It Loud, I’m Black and Proud) defined funk as a genre and caused an explosion of funk bands in 70s. Notable pioneers of the genre are The Isley Brothers, The Meters and Dyke and the Blazers. These bands never were as popular James Brown, but many musicians and fans claim that they were the most notable of that era, especially The Isley Brothers with their hit It’s Your Thing.
In 70s, George Clinton and his Parliament Funkadelic demonstrated psychedelic side of funk. Their songs Give Up the Funk, Cosmic Slop and others were accompanied by bright performance and absurdity. Along with them, other prominent groups like Kool and the Gang, Earth, Wind & Fire, Bootsy’s Rubber Band, and The Commodores appeared.
In 80s, Prince (Kiss), Rick James (Super Freak) and Queen (Another One Bites the Dust) were the most significant representatives of the style. Afrika Bambaataa did his best to use latest technologies and, as a result, a genre electro funk appeared. This music was created by drum machines and synthesizers. The genre most influenced by funk is modern hip hop, since it uses direct sampling from funk songs or melody structures.