Four Hours and 20 Minutes of Breezy Funk and Spaced-Out Soul Ballads

zo Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers…
Cover of James Mtume's late-70s funk masterpiece, Kiss This World Goodbye
Source: Epic Records

A properly potent blend of deep funk and soul cuts to score the holidaze.

Funk used to be a ba(aaa)d word. Or so they say. But what George Clinton and the musical misfits of the ’60s and ’70s once considered their countercultural hill alone is now a sprawling, multi-generational nation under a cosmic groove. And we’re all better for it.┬áBut that’s aside from the point.

Today is 4/20, which for most people who smoke their share of the funny stuff, is just another day. But for the more seasonal smoker, it’s a moment to light one up and bask in their respective red-eyed rituals. And seeing as how no 4/20 is complete without a sturdy soundtrack, we’re putting one up with and for anyone who might need a fresh set of sounds for the day’s ciphers. In previous years, we’ve thoroughly explored rare and obscure gems culled from the vast and overlapping continuums of funk and soul (listen here and here.) But the grails get plenty of shine in these pages. And while there are a good grip of them in our latest few sequences, for this 4/20, we’ve assembled a properly potent blend of deep cuts from luminary and overlooked masters of their genres.

There’s spaced-out ballads from Phyllis Hyman, Norman Connors, and Deniece Williams; entrancing vamps from Mtume, Marvin Gaye, and a number of Funkadelic cohorts; and breezy soul-jazz suites from Patrice Rushen, Donald Byrd, and Bobbi Humphrey. But that barely scratches the surface of this four-hour and 20-minute set of handpicked heat for the holidaze.

Stream our latest 4/20 playlist below.

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