Some folks don’t think of funk as sexy music, but there are some of us out there who know what’s up. The strong rhythmic foundation, rolling basslines and soulful vocal styles of funk are yet another branch of the R&B revolution that has kept world population growing at a steady rate the past half century or so. I’ve heard it said that one of the things George Clinton loved about working with Bootsy Collins on his projects was the chance to go back to doing what he came into the business doing, ballads, all thickened by the big, wet, serpentine bass Bootsy laced his love joints with.
K Maxx is a Bay Area artist, formerly known for his hip hop productions, who’s released an EP with Bay Area funk institution, the Sweater Funk crew. Sweater Funk, along with Dam Funk in Los Angeles, are mainly responsible for popularizing the term “boogie funk”, along with the understanding that it represented a specific musical feel and ethic within the larger school of funk. On this track, “My Medicine”, K Maxx laces his object of affection, and by extension, us his listeners, with a smooth poist coital wash cloth.
The song starts out with a moving, sexy, undulating groove that rocks the listener in it’s embrace. The song has a thick bass sound, a blend of an analog synth sound with thick, rich, testosterone fueled bass thumping. The bass figure vamps in essentially the same way for the same song, and as Bootsy himself used to say, it’s the better to funk you with. The bass line is a two bar phrase that ascends very strongly in the second bar. It’s matched with resonant poly keyboard tones.
K Maxx delivers his vocals in a smooth yet raw funk falsetto style. The story he tells is one of total satisfaction, satiation, delivered in the tones of a pleased after glow, “Always find my perfect spot/gaurunteed to be crazy”, “Even when we’re making love/always feels like I’m floating.” K Maxx’s phrasing is unhuried yet rhythmic, and he plays a nice game of call and response with his synths, delivering a sultry line, keeping quiet to let it marinate in the next bar, then echoing his vocal parts with his melodic synthesizer tones. K Maxx uses this funky romantic technique to sing an absolute funky praise song to his woman, calling her his medicine, giving props to her power to bring sexual healing to his life. After he says it as eloquently as can be said, he picks up his guitar and lets it do the talking, ripping a 16 bar guitar solo, reminding one of the classic funk practice followed by artists such as Ernie Isley, Mark “Drac” Hicks, Bootsy Collins, and Prince, of putting a hard rocking guitar solo over a smooth funky groove.
“My Medicine” is one of those songs that, because of its moderate, mellow, yet grooving funk approach can be played over and over again, and in a wide variety of formats. It has a special post coital, satiated vibe that unleashes all kinds of tingles, scents, memories and fires in the experienced, and makes the inexperienced wish for experience. K Maxx and Sweater Funk are doing something very special by moving beyond the playing and promotion of unsung funk classics to actually making them. Their EP “Sweater Funk Presents K Maxx”, is a must pick up for any modern day fan of funk, that is to say, anybody who wants to hear funk right now. And that’s “my medicine.”