UK Funky, proper noun, aka funky

British, characterised by syncopated, African rhythms, R ‘n’ B-style vocalising, MCs and a four-four beat, c. 2006 – present day; influenced by (and often classified with) UK garage, grime, dubstep, jungle, rave, Afrobeat, broken beat, reggaeton/ dancehall, 2Step, US house/garage, bassline, tribal, electro; 125 – 135 BPM.

Origins: After UK Garage morphed into Grime in the early Noughties, the music became more serious and moody and towards the end of the decade, producers started looking Stateside again for their cues.  The more soulful and funky US house scene, principally productions by Masters At Work (aka Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez & ‘Lil’ Louie Vega), Spen, Karizma, Kerri Chandler and Dennis Ferrer, was widely perceived as being more classy, more friendly and, crucially, more fun – an escape from the dark, harsh realism of grime, which had itself become more focused on MCs and live performances than DJs and dance floors.

Key figures: Marcus Nasty (pictured) of grime’s N.A.S.T.Y. Crew is widely credited as the most influential DJ/producer.  The work of London’s pioneering former pirate, Rinse FM, cannot be underestimated.  Head honcho Geeneus, plus Supa D, Kismet, MA1 and I.C. have all championed funky via the radio station.  Roska’s star has risen phenomenally in the last eighteen months, while Cooly G has made an equally big impact since debuting on Hyperdub in June 2009.  Singers Donae’o, Princes Nyah and Katy B plus production oufits Crazy Cousinz and Champion have all played a part in the scene’s crossover/pop success.  Also noteworthy are DJ Naughty, double-act Ill Blu, promoter/manager/label boss Soulja (FWD>>, Ammunition, Tempa), plus DJs Pioneer (Kiss 100) and Footloose (1Xtra).

This feature was originally published in May 2011 by The List magazine.  The article has been reproduced with their permission.

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