1981 FUNK: Mtume, Luther Vandross, Kool & The Gang


vandrossWith Iron Man 3 hitting the screens last week, Robert Downey Jr. arrived at the San Diego Comic Con Festival to promote the movie as Luther Vandross’ song, Never Too Much, triumphed Downey’s arrival. The 1981 R&B hit was the title track and first big song from Luther’s solo album. The song has “legs” as video games like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City included it on the game’s soundtrack. Watching the video with the boomboxes, retro outfits, and old school Luther takes us back in time when true soul music dominated the airwaves. Mary J. Blige sampled and covered the song years a few years ago. You’re talking funk/solo royalty with that killer combination.


mtume jfIf you’re younger you’ll remember the classic bassline sample from Keyshia Cole’s “Let It Go”, J. Lo’s “Loving You”, or even more prominently on Biggy’s rap anthem, “Juicy”. But if you’re a lover of true funk and R&B, you’ll know this soulful masterpiece as Mtume’s Juicy Fruit. Originally censored for lines like “you can lick me everywhere”, the song is one of the sexiest jams of the 80’s. James Mtume was formerly a member of Miles Davis band, but he went on to produce three funk albums on his own.


kool gang something specialDare you to sit still during this one! GET YOUR BACK UP OFF THE WALL, DANCE, COME ON!! These songs are close to 30 years old but they’re still as funky, vibrant, and entertaining today as ever. Back in 1981, on their Something Special album, Kool and the Gang busted out the horns and created a R&B/pop/funk blend hit that is a perfect addition to any house party setlist. Snoop Dogg (now Snoop Lion, more on that later….) sampled the song on We Just Wanna Party With You.  U.K. boy band, Blue, also recorded a recent version of the song with Kool & The Gang.