On “Disco’s” Attempt To Kill Funk . . .

I have a problem any time an idea takes precedent over music.

It’s the same reason I don’t like Jazz.

Jazz is to Blues as Disco is to Funk.

Jazz and Disco are assassination attempts on a truly soulful aesthetic.

Who is it anyways that brands these terms and always tries to redefine Black music?

In a sense, all this terminology is a semantical issue, but there’s power in words.

What you call something can make all the difference in the world.

As Duke Ellington said, “there are only two kinds of music: the good kind and the other kind”.

However, I have a problem when otherwise funky music gets overshadowed by that “4 on the floor” beat on the kick drum and 2 and 4 on the snare.

Yeah, that’s cool for a tune or so, but it gets tired real quick.

“Saturday Night Fever” was an assassination attempt on Funk.

An assassination attempt on 50 years of recorded Black music and the development of a now proven timeless hybrid of commerce and art.

An assassination attempt on the barriers broken down by Black artists finally gaining the commercial and social acceptance they worked so hard to achieve.

Yes, Count Basie and Ella Fitzgerald were once popular Black artists, but their success was marred by the aftertaste left by the bitter pill of Jim Crow.

Funk is the music born of Black freedom and that Disco beat tried to enslave our syncopated asses.

That Disco beat was popular because you don’t have to feel the pulse or the backbeat.

It’s hammered into your head and spelled out for you.

It’s static and it ain’t funky.

Thank God for Michael Jackson coming along and delivering the one-two punch of “Off The Wall” and “Thriller” that brought Disco down to it’s knees.

Hmmm, I’m starting to wonder if the fire on that Pepsi commercial was really an “accident”.

Art Blakey once said that a band is only as good as it’s drummer, and when you relegate a drummer to playing that beat all night, the music can only go so far.

Yes, Disco music may keep you in a trance and on the dance floor all night, but I’d personally rather take a date to hear some funky music and make her wanna get off that floor, go home and fuck me all night!

Dig?

– Nicholas Payton

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