Funk Fridays: Snoopzilla & Dam-Funk – Do My Thang

Dam-Funk, Funk Friday, G-Funk, Snoop Dogg, Snoopzilla

It’s roughly 20 years since Snoop Doggy Dogg’s seminal album Doggystyle was released and in that time he’s undergone a pretty wild transformation. From the start of his career as hip-hop’s scariest rapper on the world’s most dangerous record label, to a detour down south with Master P, to acting, *ahem* adult movies, Doggy Fizzle Televizzle, selling his soul commercial songs with David Guetta and…Rastafarianism resulting in an ill-advised foree into reggae… the less said about that, the better.

However, for his latest musical outing, Snoop Lion has now transformed into Snoopzilla and enlisted the help of LA funk producer Dam-Funk for an EP 7 Days of Funk. Now, on behalf of all the real Snoop Dogg fans, I would like to say…THANK YOU!

Snoop’s laidback delivery always sounds best over G-funk drenched beats and this EP is no exception. Yes, there is the inevitable use of autotune, that Snoop has somehow become addicted to (in addition to his other vices), and arguably the production steals the show. Let’s be honest, no one listens to Snoop for the lyrics. But the flow (and the autotune) perfectly fit the early 80’s vibe of the album.

One of my favourite songs is ‘Do My Thang’. What’s it about? Nothing, apart from having a good time. This song, much like the rest of the album doesn’t take itself seriously and that’s what I love about it. Laidback vibes to relax to, so if you’re feeling in the mood, press play. In fact, get the whole album and enjoy 7 Days of Funk.

Funk Friday: Gap Band – Early In The Morning

Charlie Wilson, Funk Friday, Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg, The Gap Band

A few weeks back BET pleasantly surprised us all by putting on an awards show that wasn’t entirely ignorant and featured acts that didn’t make me want to cry out in despair for our music. My favourite part of the show was the tribute to the living legend that is… Charlie Wilson.

For the younger readers, Charlie isn’t just that old guy who sings with Snoop Dogg and Justin Timberlake. Nope. He’s one of the great musical pioneers with a career spanning from Funk to Soul to modern R&B and even a little bit of hip-hop in between. However, he is perhaps most famous for his work with The Gap Band who had a run of hits from the late 70’s through to the mid-80’s. Songs such as ‘Oops Upside Your Head’ and ‘Outstanding’ ensured their place in R&B history.

When picking a song for Funk Friday there was almost too much choice. In fact, scratch that. There WAS TOO MUCH CHOICE. It turns out that the Gap Band are one of the most sampled bands in history so I may just have to revisit their back catalogue in the near future. However, today, I have settled on… Early In The Morning…

The video is pure 80’s funk cliche. You’ve got the concert style video, cowboy hats and dance routines. I wish more bands these days would have dance routines in their videos. Sidenote: How are these guys dancing better than peeps like One Direction, when they’re double their age and carrying instruments? It’s because they’ve got the funk.

Notable samples of this classic include:

Janet Jackson – ‘If’:

The guitars at about 0.30.

AND of course:

Snoop Dogg ft Justin Timberlake and Charlie Wilson – Signs

Uncle Charlie’s adlibs are all over this song and then at 2:35 he adds an interpolation of the original song into this 2005 hit. Oooohweee!

Father Christmas vs Moses (Snoop Dogg): Epic Rap Battles of History

Christmas, Comedy, Moses, music, Snoop Dogg

It’s Christmas time and here are some of my favourite things: Father Christmas, a biblical message and…er…Snoop Dogg.

It’s a sad thing when parody rap is better than mainstream rap but I guess this is the state of hiphop in 2012. Either way, Snoop Dogg just about steals the show from Saint Nick on this one, sounding hungrier than he has on many of his albums in the past 10 years. Merry Christmas. B*tches.

Funk Fridays: Tom Browne: Funkin’ for Jamaica

Funk Friday, Mariah Carey, music, Snoop Dogg, Tom Browne

1980; the beginning of my favourite decade of music. The year that former movie star Ronald Regan stunned politics by becoming the President of the USA, millions were hooked by Dallas’ ‘Who Shot JR’ saga; and the summer Olympics controversially came to Russia. Alas, those events pale in significance to one of the finest musical contributions not just of the decade but of all time *Kanye voice*, when Tom Browne produced this classic anthem, Funkin’ for Jamaica.

 

Tom was a jazz musician in the late 70’s but found fame when this hit blew up. Starting with the blare of the trumpet at the beginning and building slowly, with the addition of the drums, then the piano and bass, the groove is irresistible. Becoming a chart hit in both the UK and the US, this song is still a firm favourite decades later.

 Along with Funkadelic’s Not Just Knee Deep, this has to be one of the most sampled songs in hip-hop history and seems to be one of those songs that you turn to if you are in need of a hit – budding producers, take note. I could probably go on for ages listing the number of times that this song has been sampled but alas they cannot touch the original. However, here are a couple of my favourites anyway:

 Mariah Carey, even during her kerrraaazzzyyyyy ‘Glitter’ period had the sense to use this song on a track with the former James Brown for the 00’s man of the moment, Mystikal back in 2001. ‘Don’t Stop (Get on The Floor)’ was a quality song from the Glitter soundtrack that brought Funkin’ for Jamaica right up to date.

 

On Snoop Dogg’s classic ‘Whats My Name’ the little known club remix (and quite possibly the best remix known to man) uses the Funkin’ for Jamaica bassline in the body of the track before substituting the chorus with “Snoop Doggy Dogg, that what he is….let him get in to you…” Ahhh, the Deathrow label. Experts at making crude choruses sound so darn catchy (shout-out to Nate Dogg on “Ain’t No Fun”).