It might be verging on cliche to do another Funkadelic tune for Funk Friday but this tune is so synonymous with the genre that it’s hard not to include it.
This ode to the funk starts off abruptly with barely an introduction and then carries on to the infamous chorus:
“One nation under a groove,
Gettin’ down just for the funk of it”
The thing that stands out for me aside from the irresistible groove, is the layered production and the sheer variety of instruments on the track. In a time of 808’s and synthesisers, the instrumentation on this track is refreshing.
Just like the other Funkadelic entry on this site, this song has been sampled countless times in recent years but here are a few of the more notable ones:
Ice Cube – “Bop Gun”: Updated for the G-Funk era by Ice Cube, this received full endorsement from George Clinton as he redid the hook and even appeared in the video.
Janet Jackson – “Go Deep”: Huge tune harking back to my early adolescence with Janet looking particularly hot in red hair… *sigh*. Oh yeah, and there’s also a sneaky sample of the Funkadelic tune in there somewhere.
EPMD – “So Watcha Sayin”: Some classic old school hiphop, in the era before they paid royalties for samples (probably), the sample appears at 1:25 in the chorus.
This might be one of the more obvious posts I’ll do on Funk Friday, mainly because it’s a tune that pretty much anyone with a passing knowledge of Funk music will know. Added to the fact that the song has been sampled a million times, you will understand where I’m coming from.
As a wannabe/aspiring/former body popper and locker (all three), Not Just Knee Deep is our quintessential theme tune. If you look up many a bodypopping competition on youtube, that tune is bound to be featured in one interpretation or the other and it’s fair to say that Funkadelic and George Clinton unwittingly provided the soundtrack to many poppers’ lives.
I blame my parents for introducing me to this song but it’s just so damn funky. And then gets repetitive. But then the funk draws you back in and all is forgiven.
After the original was released back in 1979 and shook up the mothership funk connection throughout the 80’s, nothing could brace us for its resurgence in the 90’s, mainly thanks to the popularity of gangster rap and it’s offshoot G-Funk. It’s almost like rappers forgot that there were other tunes out there to sample, or that they could actually try and make something original. But, who am I to hate. I’ve downloaded most of these tunes and they are just so damn funky that I can’t even hate. In fact, if I was a West Coast rapper in the early 90’s, I probably would have utilised that sample too.
In no particular order, here’s a few of the notable interpretations of the song:
- Dre Day – Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg: noticeably slowed down sample but we know what time it is
- De La Soul – ““Me, Myself and I”“: Probably the most blatant use of this sample but tellingly one of De La’s signature songs.
- Can’t C Me – 2pac – One of my favourite 2pac songs. The “Knee Deep” sample is almost made to sound eerie over 2pac’s venomous raps, Dr Dre’s production and George Clinton’s vocals.
So basically, every sample of this song has been pretty good. Shout out’s to George Clinton and Funkadelic for creating such a timeless tune. Salute!