Soul, Pride, Rhythm
My essential 50 ultimately revolves around rhythm. From the pioneering production power of J Dilla, to the trailblazing sounds of Herbie Hancock, the power of the rhythm has always inspired me.
Coming in at number five on my list is Fishbone. This band had a lasting effect on me growing up. I was torn as a black teenager growing up in Wisconsin. How can I love punk, ska, funk, rap and soul all at the same time… FISHBONE!!!! THAT’S HOW!
Number four for me is Parliament Funkadelic. Two bands, brought to us by the legendary genius that is George Clinton. He is not the Godfather of Soul, he’s the Don of Funk. Funk music is so important to me, and the tree of George ha many musical branches that I love.
Equally funky is my number 3 artist, A Tribe Called Quest. There is no denying their influence on hip-hop and jazz music. They brought us to a place where Hip Hop could be smart, meaning and stand for something. They also showed me the more jazzy side of my favorite genre of American music.
In at number 2, it’s the only band that matters… THE CLASH! No band before them, and no band since, has so seamlessly threaded punk, soul, reggae and pop into the lens of rock ‘n’ roll. They were so far ahead of their time, and their music is timeless.
Without a doubt, my number one essential artist of all time is the Godfather of Soul, Mr. Dynamite, Soul Brother No.1, JAMES BROWN. James Brown single handedly laid the groundwork for the gritty side of black America’s music to not only exist in the record industry, but for it to become the largest part of the industry. Rap music does not become the most consumed genre of music in the world, without James Brown. He continued to pioneer black music over and over again and again. From soul to funk to hip-hop, he was there at the beginning of it all.
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