Funky tracks to to honor Prince.
FUNKADELIC feat. KENDRICK LAMAR & ICE CUBE – “Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard On You? (Remix)” – as described by dylan nguyen
I’m still getting over the double shock that Ice Cube and the father of funk still make music (and also the fact that we’re still waiting on the third installment of Ice Cube’s Are We There Yet? series). That being said, I’m pretty sure this is a good song*. Cool track by someone that paved the way for Prince, featuring two artists that probably wouldn’t be quite who they are if Prince didn’t shatter 39 albums worth of norms before them. Plus: Hip-hop nerds, Kendrick’s verse here also appears on Untitled 8 from his latest album. I think it’s cooler here.
*Not really sure about the Ice Cube verse. Never really knew what to think of him. Up to you.
STEVIE WONDER – “Isn’t She Lovely” – as described by zane hellmann
There are very few musicians and singer-songwriters that can come close to the greatness of Prince. Stevie Wonder is one of those people. His brilliance on the piano despite his lack of eyesight, as well as his ability to turn some crazy lyrics into an earworm that haunts you for days makes him one of the few people worthy of any comparison to Prince. For me, “Isn’t She Lovely” is a song that takes those moments that typically go unnoticed in the realm of pop, the birth of child, and makes it cool.
PRINCE – “I Would Die 4 U” – as described by david schmitt
My favorite scene from the movie “Purple Rain,” which was my first exposure to Prince as a kid.
CURTIS MAYFIELD – “Superfly” – as described by siena streiber
If you are ever in the mood for good funk music, I highly recommend checking out the “Scandal (ABC) Soundtrack” playlist on Spotify. In addition to being an amazing playlist, this 127-song playlist only gets bigger with each episode. Stevie Wonder, James Brown, and Marvin Gaye are just some of the incredible artists that will have you movin’ and grovin’ all night long.
PRINCE – “Let’s Go Crazy” – as described by alex cheng
Prince means the world to Minnesota. Which is kind of strange, really. Prince was the ultimate cosmopolitan – pure pop genius without pesky human limitation, physically, temporally, spatially, or otherwise – a true star in every sense – and he chose to settle in podunk ol’ Minnesota. Minnesota is my home, and I love it dearly, but even I have to admit that the Land of 10,000 Lakes is a little milquetoast. A queer black superstar settling down in Chanhassen in the ’80s, amidst blindingly white Minnesotan snow and hale and hearty white Minnesotan faces? Unusual to say the least.
But Minnesota meant the world to Prince. It was home for him, a Minnesota boy born and bred, and he loved it dearly. He put the Minnesota music scene on the map (alongside other seminal ’80s acts like the Replacements and Hüsker Dü), and he immortalized legendary club First Avenue and the city of Minneapolis on film in Purple Rain. He made Minnesota a place where you could be strange and weird and different, and Minnesota will always love him for that. I remember sliding Purple Rain into the CD player of my 2003 Honda Civic for the first time, riding around Rochester, MN, in the summer heat, hanging out with my sister, driving up to the Twin Cities to see friends and bands. The music made me happier and made that summer better.
“Let’s Go Crazy” might be the greatest pop song of all time. (Any Prince song could be the greatest pop song of all time.) The cheesy spoken intro, the tightly wound beat, the brilliant melody, which always came so easy to Prince – the window of my Civic is rolled down, my sister’s wearing those big round sunglasses, and we’re tearing up Highway 52 in the summer sun. RIP Prince.
SLY & THE FAMILY STONE – “Just Like a Baby” – as described by carlos valladares
In which Sly takes us back to our cosmic roots – with a funky clavinet, a processed-to-hell-and-back wah-wah vocal (literally), and a whole lotta grass. It’s just one of many choice cuts off his 1971 sonic masterpiece There’s A Riot Goin’ On. (For his humanist-thematic masterpiece, check out 1969’s Stand!) The brilliant sonic landscape Sly crafted for this one album is a hellish realm of druggy paranoia. The Hardest Working Man in Show Business, P-Funk, and Sly Stone stand tall as the Big Three of Funk’s 70s days. Without Sly’s alternately sexual, alternately angry wailings, Prince and MJ would be unthinkable. In a year that gave us Tapestry, What’s Going On, Blue, Imagine, Shaft, Maggot Brain, Who’s Next, Sticky Fingers, and Led Zeppelin IV, Sly’s album stands out in its haunting, painful, vulnerable scraggliness.
PRINCE – “Delirious” – as described by nikki tran
With its bouncy, zipper-like synths and subtle (or maybe not so subtle) sexual lyrics—“Baby you got to stop / ‘Cause if you don’t I’m gonna explode”—this dive is an unmistakable 80s anthem. Doesn’t it make you want to grab some rollerblades, head to the rink, and twirl?
D’ANGELO & THE VANGUARD – “Sugah Daddy” – as described by anthony milki
I believe that the closest thing we have to some type of musical force that can keep Prince alive at least in spirit and virtuoso-ness is D’Angelo. Revisit the lead single off of his 2014 masterpiece.
JAMES BROWN – “People Get Up And Drive That Funky Soul” – as described by alejandra salazar
Because sometimes you just gotta let loose.
BECK – “Sexx Laws” – as described by katie nesser
Though Beck is best known for his folk/rock inspired work, the genre hopper and Funky Scientologist actually has a side gig: spiritual heir to Prince. If only he would stop putting out boring albums and accept his destiny.
Image from here.