Right now, Dam Funk is part Dr. Dre, part Madlib and part George Clinton. However this was an evolution, as the early demo tapes that comprise Adolescent Funk show he started more as a disciple of Prince, Michael Jackson and Egyptian Lover.
“Fonky Island Life” kicks off the collection which starts with odd samples of explosions and birds before turning into a New Jack Swing groove. It’s a song like this that makes you imagine what he might have come up with had he had a massive budget circa 1990, even as he aims there with the sound of jets soaring overhead. “It’s My Life” is almost a Devo take on Prince, if possible, with pulsating stabs as Dam Funk sends some coarse, but smooth vocals over the top of a simple Casio type beat.
Don’t think the album is all soft though “The Telephone Call” which features rocking drums under nothing but pretty much a telephone ring sample and little vocal shutouts has that P-Funk hard hitting weirdness vibe. This compilation definitely starts things off with its high points as “I Like Your Big Azz (Girl)” is one of the standouts. Sounding like a laid-back Bobby Brown, Dam Funk smoothly floats his vocal over a thumping bassline and the occasional record scratch.
Even when things are odd, like “I Love Life”, which is just varied versions either Dam Funk (or sample of someone) saying “I Love Life” or a busy piano line and more Casio keyboards, its still sounds like something you wouldn’t be surprised to hear slipped into a DJ set.
“When I’m With U I Think of Her” continues Dam Funk’s exploration into other established sounds coming off like a Bell Biv Devoe track only without the occasional rapping. There’s even a few songs that show the evolution of Dam Funk’s production, with “Raindrops” sounding nearly radio ready and featuring some of his best vocals of the whole album.
The album is given a thoughtful sendoff with the track “I Appreciate Life” which is a great coda from where Dam Funk started off to where he’s gone. These songs aren’t polished, but there is something funky or something great in each and every one of them. Maybe the keys, maybe the vocal squelches, something always comes through.
In association with TWV.
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