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City of Brotherly Love, Force of Electric Funk: An Okayplayer Playlist

City of Brotherly Love, Force of Electric Funk: An Okayplayer Playlist

Illustrated by Rick Manlapig for Okayplayer and Red Bull Sound Select

Featuring MFSB, Dexter Wansel, Edwin Birdsong and Philly’s finest funk pioneers

Months back, Red Bull Sound Select asked us to summon our collective wits and put forth a bill that embodied that new guard of hip-hop and r&b. On October 14th, their 3 Days in Philly festival will cap off with a performance from Syd, Ravyn Lenae, St. Beauty and D∆WN.

Along with the series-ending show in our hometown haunts, we’ve been tasked with complimenting those sounds and sights with an accompanying guide to the city’s deep and rich history of musical innovations. Naturally, a playlist is in order. But instead of presenting you the proto-neo-soul that characterized our earliest moments in these URL spaces, a dig into one of the city’s most unheralded eras of pioneering in the post-disco years. Students of the city’s sound know it for lush orchestral soul at the behest of Gamble & Huff and Philadelphia International Records, where The O’Jays, The Delfonics, The Stylistics, Teddy Pendergrass and seemingly countless soul institutions were founded. But it was the period directly following this golden age that is all-too-often overlooked; when maturing hit-makers of the early-to-mid-seventies stepped out with a whole new sound, driven by drum machine sequences, soaring synthesizers and some of the most memorable voices of a generation.

But it was the period directly following this golden age that is all-too-often overlooked; when maturing hit-makers of the early-to-mid-seventies stepped out with a whole new sound, driven by drum machine sequences, soaring synthesizers and some of the most memorable voices of a generation. And so, as to not let time forget these ground-shaking anthems and sampledelic suites, we’ve hand-picked selections from Philly’s post-disco period for a guided spotlight into an era that bridged four-to-the-floor frequencies and the imminent New Jack takeover.

Hear it all in our City of Brotherly Love: Force of Electric Funk playlist below, curated by our very own, Michael “ZO” Gonik.  Hit the link to follow along on the paths of rhythm via Spotify.  Pick up a copy of Philly Sound 2017, a free zine from Red Bull Sound Select and 26 local curators and creatives, available at any one of 43 respective and respected destinations across the city.

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