Boogie Funk has proven to be a very viable sub genre in the past few years for female R&B artists in particular as a sound that is highly musical, vital, nostalgic and yet current at the same time. An example of this would be a song such as Jennifer Hudson’s “Can’t Deny”, which updated Evelyn Champagne King’s classic “I’m In Love.” Today’s artist, Oakland, California’s own Goapele, caught my attention with her first hit, “Closer.” That songs slow, pounding beat, with it’s mesmerizing melody and dreamy Fender Rhodes tones, became one of a select group of songs that I heard coming out of young mens car speakers right alongside hip hop tunes. This is a fairly hallowed group of songs, that goes all the way back to classics such as “More Bounce to the Ounce”, and En Vogue’s “Hold On”. Goapele’s new single, “Hey Boy”, is a gaurunteed summer party starter, the type of song that can take you all the way from cleaning up on Saturday morning to getting ready for the club on Saturday night.
The song begins with a modern, “chopped and screwed” style effect, a male voice slowed down into basso profundo by electronic effects. The male voice is saying “You’s a bad girl” as Goapele sings the title of the song “Hey Boy.” After the short intro, the effervescant groove kicks in. It features an uplifting bassline that drives the song, backed by a muted guitar part playing the same part, with rhodes chords in the background. Relatively quickly into the song, 8 bars in, the song changes section, going to a new groove and changing chords as well,adding in bright synthesizer pads which leads up to the chrous, where “Hey Boy” is repeated. The chorus section has another groove, featuring slap bass, more active guitar strumming, and bright synthesizer pads. The chorus section is reminiscent of Quincy Jones QWEST era productions. The chorus section, being the part of the song where the bass player slaps and pops, is interesting for going for a funkier, more unleashed feel. The song also has a breakdown around 2:40 or so which highlights the bass even more, immediately followed by a “Chpped and screwed” sction. Goapele and the band vamp out until the song concludes.
Goapele sings the song in a high, light, cheerful voice, with a rather rapid lyrical delivery, very rhythmic in her pronounciations. The song is most definitely about the better parts of a relationship, and a genuine connection, because as she says, “we don’t need to read between the lines/baby I can feel whats on your mind.” Goapele here delivers a clear message of love and affection. The groove is hot, just like the summer it’s designed for. “Hey Boy” is unique for providing an authentic, band based early ’80s funk experience, with the modern hip hop “Chopped and Screwed” texture providing some nice contrast, and taking us between 2014 and the early ’80s. Now let the jeeps bump it!