Why you should KNOW these Pop Electro-Funk POWERHOUSES


Welcome to WEEK 202 of 4T! (Video Episode #28) The 1980s Force Factor (1982-86)

… and the Unheralded FORCEs of Pop Electro Funk https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7yxeACYY1ErAEf9P1DFeJi?si=eTVqMTngSZ-T0FHCdFJnaw

This week is a mega mix of five FORCE-ful artists and eight LPs (and even more on the Spotify playlist – see below), so let’s get to it.

Pop electro-funk was HUGE in the 1980s, a real force (expect to see this word often) in the music world. And as far as I’m concerned it all started with Soulsonic Force, led by THEE HIP-HOP LEGEND, Afrika Bambaataa. “Planet Rock” sealed the deal for me as far as electro-infused hip-hop, and almost singlehandedly started the electro-funk movement. Everything else you read about below you can go ahead and credit to Afrika, Soulsonic, and “Planet Rock”.

Yes Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. Yes OF COURSE Prince. But AS BIG A YES should be shouted out to the SEMINAL band/production team, Full Force. Not only did they have their own hits, such as the impossible to resist “Alice, I Want You Just for Me”, but they wrote & produced (for years after the 1980s) hits for acts small and large, such as The Real Roxanne, UTFO, Samantha Fox, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, La Toya Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Backstreet Boys, Rihanna & James Brown (the first four of which are in my Spotify playlist). So why are they not better known??? How many legendary production teams have kicked that much as for that many OTHER legendary performers and not been lauded and revered and lionized? Do NOT go a step further in reading this without listening to “Alice” and at least three of those other artists. Give them the props they deserve. They’re still out there – all the original members – and still kickin’ it.

And finally you have the Force MDs, a band (from Staten Island of all places) that paved the way for all kinds of hip-hop infused r&b and slow jams like new jack swing, quiet storm, Boys II Men, Bell Biv DeVoe, and SO MANY other 1990s acts. Their hit, “Tender Love”, was one of the prime prototypes, and a song I sang & played on the piano over & over. It’s sad that most of the members are now dead. All the more reason to revisit this other vital pop electro funk band.

I’ve included several of my CLEARLY INFLUENCED songs in the Spotify playlist. Here & now, I’ll list two not yet on Spotify, one each for Soulsonic, Full Force, and Force MDs:

“I Took One for Me” (electro hip-hop) - https://recarea.bandcamp.com/track/i-took-one-for-me

“Make Me Break Like Everyday” (pop electro funk slow jam) - https://recarea.bandcamp.com/track/make-me-break-like-everyday

Do you remember these bands? The songs? Considering how 99% of pop music can now be classified as some version of pop electro funk, do you think these artists should be much better known? Discuss dammit!

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© 2018 by Nick DeMatteo

New York, NY