When it comes to modern funk, there aren’t many artists out there delivering on the promise of such a storied, iconic genre. Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak teamed up to create Silksonic, a funk and soul-driven pop group, but even their best efforts felt far too polished and rehearsed to give listeners a shot at the true funk experience.
The days of Parliament, Funkadelic, Sly and the Family Stone, Kool and the Gang, and Earth, Wind, & Fire are seemingly behind us, but there are bands and modern acts that dedicate themselves to tapping into the essence of funk, even still. Red Hot Chili Peppers are known for their funk-driven grooves and flourishes, for instance, but nobody would rightfully call them a funk band. There’s no way to be a funk band, you just have to come out swinging and earn the title — King James Brown, Las Vegas’ iconic performer, is back with a new song on this very concept: “Can’t Fake the Funk” sees the musician calling out modern funk acts, daring them to show their nonexistent funk credentials.
“Can’t Fake the Funk” scratches every possible funk itch, bringing about a band stuffed to the brim with horns and saxophones, bombastic drums, and legendary guitar and bass tones. The track begins with dialogue of King James Brown directly calling out bands for “faking the funk,” and the tone set by the opening twenty seconds feels like a perfect line tiptoed by a genre-driven master as it spins off into a five-minute, funk-filled extravaganza.
The hopping saxophone line and the gorgeous backing vocals complement Brown’s own lead vocals perfectly, and the crisp guitar feels like a perfect addition that never overpowers the overall composition, even opening the song up for a solo around the midway point. The song’s message hits hard and true, obviously coming from an artist that was born and raised on the music he represents — even beyond the obvious homage to James Brown in his name, King James Brown has an enormous heart for the entire funk scene of yesterday, and his music (both in live performances and studio recordings) capture the infectious energy and swagger that came with the territory.
It’s clear that King James Brown has a nostalgic heart as much as he has an energetic mind, and the balance of the two in “Can’t Fake the Funk” is a near-perfect marriage. There’s an incredible energy to his work across his career and the way he simply exudes Las Vegas levels of charm and charisma speaks for itself. There’s no faking the funk here, and King James Brown clearly has his work cut out for him if there’s ever to be a new wave of funk in mainstream music — thankfully, with the addition of his influence and guidance, there might yet be a resurgence of the classic genre in a way that feels genuine and true. There’s no faking the funk, a fact King James Brown knows all too well, and with a little luck, it’ll be a fact the rest of the music industry comes to learn soon.
The music of King James Brown has been heard all over the world in partnership with the radio plugging services offered by Musik and Film Radio Promotions Division. Learn more https://musikandfilm.com