Editorial: What does Funk or Funky really mean?
WHAT DOES FUNK OR FUNKY REALLY MEAN ?
Many people have expressed confusion in understanding what GoGo says in this video, below Og SkeeterRabbit explains the diffrence in the various meanings of the word and how GoGo is making a distiction btween those uses
Here is somethings that Neil “Storm” Robiskie and I shared in some research we did a couple of years ago about the origin of the word funk .. also after Tony did the above interview in which he was asked about his interpretation of the term. I received a lot of request to clarify what he meant , So I wrote and posted this article on what Funk is from both research and experience..Students must realize when asking such questions as to weather the response is based on either or both research and experience , and understand that many times answers are based on neither. the above interview Tonys opinion is based on his personal experience with the term Funk
“As most of the dances, moves and terms, we can trace “Funk” back to
The word Funk comes from the Kikongo (congolese) word “lu-fuki”. Now it
gets interesting, where and how the term is rooted as a combination of
odor and rythm.
funky is the smell after making love, but also the rythm when making love,
where the couple has the best result by moving in a not completely
synchronized straight rythm, but in a syncopated fashion, to lead to a
clymax. the term Funk was introduced as a musical term as a song title by
Buddy Bolden called “the funky Butt”, and Earl Palmer another Jazz
musician from New Orleans used the term to express his rhythms”.
The Lyrics of James Brown and others are completely in line with this, The rhythm and feel as sound leaves an instrument ,or the movement that this sound entices you to produce can definately fit the criteria as a form of FUNK…
I understand what my brother GoGo is saying but, I’m not quite sure how many really catch it, people really should study slang street terms to understand what they mean, many of them can have various meanings depending on how when, and by whom they are used.
To people who are not familiar with the English language and the culture s that some of these terms come from it can be quite confusing. And I can see that is what has happened in the international dance world
The Terms Funk and Funky, are words that can be connected to feeling, a disposition, or smell or even nastiness and it can also mean queer or strange ,It can literally mean different things depending on who, where and how it is used. And that can be confusing to those that don’t completely understand the slang and culture concept.
. When James Brown says it’s too funky in here, he is really saying something extremely clever, he is drawing between two meanings, first he is connecting smell to the word funky, “it’s to funky funky in here’ funkity funk funk up the air” and 2nd he has connected it to the funk that comes from people who are dancing and playing music from the real and therefore what they are doing is funky or giving off funk.. That is the meaning of Funk or funky associated to our artform of Dance and music
In the hood, the word draws many parallels between the various meanings, It can mean something good, It can mean something bad or it can mean something strange or different, And that can be confusing to someone who doesn’t REALLY understand the language of hood..
- 1 If there is a real dirty stinky person, you can say he is FUNKY.. That doesn’t me he is cool.. It means he stinks , he smells or looks bad…
- 2 If a person is down or a person is not themselves or in a drug or alcohol. Stupor you can say he is in a FUNK, which means he has a bad disposition, when Tony says Sly Stone was in a funk that’s what he meant. A person having bad luck can be in a FUNK
- 3 Now here is where I think a lot of today’s dancers confuse the word with silly or comical. When the term was used by people from suburbs and other cultures in the US. The term was pronounced “Fun Kee” that meant strange or queer,or comical, so if someone says “She is wearing a kinda “FunKee: looking hat , it meant it was kind of Funny strange ,But if I saw someone who was a dancer wearing a cool Aceduce hat I may say “ man that hat is FUNKY”, I I would mean it was REAL.. Now if someone is acting strange It can be said, he is acting real “FunKee” That may not mean he is acting cool, it may mean he is acting strange. A person can come into a room and bring the “Funk” and it can mean different things.. It can mean he brought a strange vibe… it can mean he made the room smell.. Or it can mean he brought a good groove from the real into the room, It all depends what the situation was and how it is said…
So when I as a dancer or singer from the Funk era says be funky I don’t mean be FUN KEE or act comical, or do something strange, I don’t mean act a certain trained preplanned way, I mean let what you feel come from the real, and what comes off of you should be so real I can almost smell it, It’s a real down home NASTY FEELING.That comes when people play ,walk talk, feel ,dance or sing from their inner heart and soul… GoGo I believe was explaining the difference between the disposition, and that soul stirring feeling.
.. peace Og SkeeterRabbit