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Funk is a vigorous African American style of music developed mainly by James Brown and his band members (especially Maceo and Melvin Parker) on the one hand and groups like The Meters on the other hand. In the 1970s, George Clinton developed a new kind of funk he termed P Funk. Other prominent representatives of the genre in the 1970s: Bootsy Collins, Larry Graham, Ohio Players, The Commodores, War, Earth, Wind and Fire, Mass Production, Slave, Lakeside, and many more. In the 1980s, funk lost some of its audience as bands became more commercial and music more electronic. Today, hip hop artists regularly sample old funk tunes, sometimes for the purpose of waking them up to new recognition.

Funk can be best recognized by syncopated rhythm, thick bass line (often based on "on one" beat), razor-sharp rhythm guitars, yowlish vocals (as that of Cameo or Bar-Kays), strong rhythm-oriented brass section, percussion instruments, happiness in style, African tones, dance floor audience, and strong jazzy influences (e.g. as in Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Eddie Harris, and others).

Disco music owes a great deal to funk.

Funk music was exported back to Africa in the mid to late 1960s, and melded with African singing and rhthyms to form Afrobeat.

Note: Despite its name, Grand Funk Railroad is not a funk band; it is a straight rock band.

See also: list of funk musicians