Funk is a style of music developed in the United States in the 1960s. It grew out of the soul tradition, but incorporated a more pronounced beat along with influences from rock, R&B, and jazz. Bass and drums are typically prominent in funk music. Other common instruments include electric guitar, electric organ, and a horn section. This style of music had a lasting influence, notable in the disco music of the 1970s and later in hip-hop music. Songs from the 1960s and '70s are often sampled in modern hip-hop tracks.
While the bass line is brought to the forefront in funk, melody is downplayed. Rather than the chord changes common in earlier forms of music, a single chord is often used throughout a song. This emphasis on rhythm made for a more danceable form of music than blues or R&B.
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James Brown was one of the pioneers of the funk genre in the 1960s, with such hits as the 1964 single "Out of Sight." His music stood out for its emphasis on the downbeat, the first beat of each measure, in contrast to the backbeat used in traditional soul music. In the 1970s, George Clinton breathed new life into this style of music by incorporating psychedelic rock influences. His two bands, Parliament and Funkadelic, gave birth to a new subgenre known as P-Funk. The style grew in popularity, and many jazz musicians of the era began to incorporate it into their music.
While funk's heyday was in the 1970s, its influence remains strong in popular music. In the 1980s, electronic instruments became more common in funk music, but artists like Rick James and Prince carried on the legacy of the 1970s P-Funk artists. While this music traditionally had sexually suggestive lyrics, in the 1980s, they became more explicit. Contemporary bands including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Black Eyed Peas, and Outkast continue to perform funk-inspired music, and James Brown and Parliament-Funkadelic are among the most sampled musicians.