Funk is a distinct style of music originated by the African American Culture. It hit the scene in the late 60’s early 70’s.
Its name originated in the 1950s, when “funk” and “funky” were used increasingly as adjectives in the context of soul music. The meaning being transformed from the original one (pungent odor) to a re-defined meaning of a strong, distinctive groove.
Funk consists a blend of soul music, jazz music and R&B. What separates this genre is the strong bass-line usually played in a style called “slap bass.” The blend of this baseline, complex drum licks, choppy guitar strumming, and synchronized horns (trumpets and saxophones) composed in a rhythmic groove gives Funk it’s distinct sound.
A few popular artists in this genre are James Brown, Bootsy Collins, Parliament, and Rick James.
In this video Bootsy Collins will break down his basic style of Funk (“on the one”) with his bass guitar. This means playing one consistent note on every one count of the tempo. After playing that specific note (“on the one”), you have freedom to play any note in any order and any way as long as you keep rhythm. Here’s the video demonstration from no other than the man himself.
The person considered to be the one who brought along the style of “slap bass” is Larry Graham. Larry Graham is part of the group Sly and The Family Stone. Here’s a video of Larry Graham playing this style.