The Rinse FM founder shares some classics from the early years of funky.
Listen to ten of the finest UK funky tracks, as selected by Geeneus.
Around 2007, yet another fresh sound began to emerge from the UK underground. A crop of producers started to riff off classic US house, adding the vibe and vocals from UK garage or bassline, some soca swing and a dash of dubstep's weight. "Funky house," they called it for a short while, until the scene had an identity of its own, and a main club night in Kismet, Feva, IC, Gemini, Tippa and Supa D's Circle. Then the term UK funky was born. Rinse FM founder Geeneus, was in the middle of it all.
Having maintained a radio platform for jungle DJs and MCs since 1994, ushering in garage and dubstep's arrival along the way, Geeneus was perfectly placed to help break a new genre. The underground sound of funky appealed to Rinse FM's hardcore continuum-aligned audience, while bringing a bit of fun and colour to a dark and intense era of UK music. As well as with Rinse, Geeneus platformed the emerging sound at their legendary FWD>> nights, to varying levels of appreciation from those expecting dubstep.
In a similar vein to its predecessor UK garage, UK funky's meteoric success was bittersweet. As the genre blew up from London to the rest of the UK, and some spots abroad like Ayia Napa, it was co-opted for the charts. Singalong bangers like Fuzzy Logic's "In the Morning" became viral novelties (think "Are You Gonna Bang Doe" or "Head, Shoulders Kneez And Toez"). The originators—artists like Donae'o, Apple, Crazy Cousinz, Marcus Nasty, Supa D and Geeneus himself—either changed direction or retreated to the underground.
That's where funky has been ever since, thriving in loyal pockets where fans will tell you the sound never went away. It has evolved through darker and more poppy variants, while providing a foundation for corresponding styles of South African dance music to take hold in the UK. Rinse FM continues to be at the centre of the genre's buzz, celebrating with an I Love: Funky showcase at Ministry Of Sound this Saturday. Ahead of the party, Geeneus ran us through some of his favourite UK funky moments.
The Cure And The Cause - Fish Go Deep (Denis Ferrer Remix)
This track was an entry point for me. I heard this track on a Gavin Peters CD in 2006 while on holiday with two of my friends and was completely drawn in by it. After listening to it on repeat, I returned from holiday and went to the studio and made my first funky track entitled "Emotions."
Fuzzy Logic - The Way You Move
While most people will know Fuzzy Logic for "In the Morning" with Egypt, this is actually one of my favourite funky tracks of all time. It's one of the tracks that I would see all of the different styles of house and funky DJs play, from the likes of Crazy Cousinz all the way to Kismet and Feva at Circle. Absolutely amazing track that you can't help but fall in love with.
Perempay & Dee - Time To Let Go feat. Cleo Sol
A personal favourite of mine and a track that gives me complete FOMO. When Perempay and Dee (AKA Bossman and Davinche) stepped into the funky game, I must say I got a bit shook. These two guys were no joke and were already so legendary in grime, alongside the massive vocals from Cleo Sol who has been one of my favourite artists for over a decade, I fell in love with this and rarely did a set without playing it.
Hardhouse Banton- Sirens
What can I say: if you don't know this track then I don't know where you've been. As soon as you hear the snare and siren you know what time it is, an absolute monster of a track and not many tunes carry the weight of a bassline like this does.
Tadow - Rising Sun
Big Love to the Invasion Records crew, Tadow and Fingerprint, original pioneers of what we call UK funky. We owe a lot to these guys for their hard work on the buttons and this is one of many bangers from them.
Marlon D - Jesus Creates Sound
I heard this for the first time at Circle at Temple nightclub and it completely blew my mind. Hearing the raw beats and rolling snares whilst the sample 'This is a journey into sound' played was insane. People would stamp the floor and Tippa would shout "CIRCLLLEEEEE." This track got me hooked.
Geeneus & Katy B - As I
I guess I should include one of my own tracks in this top ten. This is probably one of my favourite tracks I ever created alongside Katy B. With no pressure of delivering a hit record, we went into the studio one night and came out with this song. I never get sick of listening to this track whilst I struggle to listen to any of my other songs, I could listen to the end vocal on repeat for hours.
Donae'o - Party Hard
Donae'o entered the game with some massive vocals. This one brings back memories. Man like Flukes (Crazy Cousinz) playing this at Brixton Mass, watching the people getting down to this is something I'll never forget. The funky parties at this time brought some of the best vibes I've ever seen in any genre.
Kentphonik - Sunday Showers
This track always surprised me, it's a very rare thing to see such a mellow and chilled track absolutely smash the party and across the board too. A big favourite in Yellow and every other party. The musical sound of the xylophone takes you on a journey that makes you want to lay down and stand up at the same time.
Crazy Cousinz - Need You Bad (Remix)
It wouldn't be possible to make a funky top ten without including Crazy Cousinz. This one is one of my favourites from Flukes, and another I never get bored of. Not many producers have the skill to be recognised by ear but also make the tracks different each time. Big up Flukes and gang, big in the game.