While he made many groundbreaking singles, Kurtis Blow was never a consistent album artist, making this best-of collection his definitive artistic statement. Throughout the early '80s, Blow helped define what rap could do, and these tracks confirm his status as one of hip-hop's legendary acts.
For those looking to find a crash course in "the funk" – a quick introduction to the fusion of R&B, soul, jazz, blues, good old rock & roll, and all-out outrageousness that creates the ultimate good groove – you can't do much better than the Funk Essentials compilations. Funky Stuff: The Best of Funk Essentials is the perfect portrait. With its contents drawn from the single-band Funk Essentials compilation albums, this clean, clear set provides incredible diversity while keeping the vibe connected. In other words, Funky Stuff is not only an introduction to the heaviest of hitters, but also a nifty, smooth ride for the already initiated.
The Flame are most known for their connections to the Beach Boys, though they'd been active for quite some time in a much different part of the world than Southern California before they came to the Beach Boys' attention. Originally known as the Flames, the group – with brothers Ricky Fataar, Steve Fataar, and Edries Fataar, as well as Blondie Chaplin – was a popular act in their native South Africa in the mid- to late '60s, moving to London near the end of the decade to try to break into a larger market. Still using the name the Flames, they put out an obscure album in the U.K. in 1968, Burning Soul. In July 1969, they were seen at the London nightclub Blaise's by Beach Boys guitarist Al Jardine, who brought the band's other guitarist, Carl Wilson, to see them the following night. Wilson offered to produce an album for the band on the Beach Boys' label, Brother, in California, although it wasn't until the late '70s that the LP was released.
Funk, rhythm-driven musical genre popular in the 1970s and early 1980s that linked soul to later African-American musical styles. Like many words emanating from the African-American oral tradition, funk defies literal definition, for its usage varies with circumstance. As a slang term, funky is used to describe one’s odour, unpredictable style, or attitude. Musically, funk refers to a style of aggressive urban dance music driven by hard syncopated bass lines and drumbeats and accented by any number of instruments involved in rhythmic counterplay, all working toward a “groove.”