What comes to mind when you think about the future? What will the music, fashion, and art be like in a hundred years? Weird? Spacey? Oddly infectious and unique?
Won't be around in 100 years to see for yourself? Don't worry! The future already happened for nearly two decades. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm talking about the 70s and 80s. From music to fashion to technology, we've been re-inventing this era for 20+ years. Here's why the future already happened.
In 2015, Kendrick Lamar released the highly acclaimed To Pimp A Butterfly. Some people considered this a masterpiece, a project fresh and ahead of its time, but was it really? Short answer: Hell Nah. Long answer: From the 1st track, Kenny let us know that this album is a merely fruit from the deeply rooted tree of funk. With features from George Clinton and Thundercat, TPAB was a gorgeous reminder of how dope music was in the funk era. With the spacey synths, vocoder (auto tune), and subject matter, the funk era was futuristic as fuck. If you think "King Kunta" and "Alright" were afrocentric, check Sly and the Family Stone's "Thank You" and "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey".
Hip Hop's first hit, "Rapper's Delight", clearly demonstrates how hip hop music was a small alteration of what funk already did, and some would argue, in a lazier way. The funk legends didn't usually sample other songs, they played their own instruments, and made their songs over 6 minutes routinely. Yet another example is Childish Gambino's most recent album, Awaken, My Love! Like TPAB, it was nominated for multiple Grammys and received an overwhelming amount of critical acclaim. Not mention, his single "Redbone" would fit right in the soundtrack for Super Fly. Funk is making a comeback.
70s fashion is the granddaddy of "hipster as fuck".When you think of 80s fashion, you think asymmetry, bright colors, and androgeny. And let's not forget the space age cosplay. How the fuck did they perform like that? #futureasfuck
Ladies and Gents, fashion some how
It's difficult to imagine the late 60's, 70's, and 80's without also recalling things like cocaine, acid, mushrooms, heroine, and of course, Mary Jane. Drugs were much less taboo than they would later become, and it was very much apart of the music world at the time. The same way artists today reference Xans, Lean, and Perks, funk era artists referenced being high on something just as much.
To add a little more evidence to my case that funk was the future, I made a dope ass playlist blending funk music and today's hip-hop.
Check it out here: