12mid, Mohawk Patio
With his shoulder-length pressed hair, faux-future sunglasses, and crates full of post-disco boogie records, you'd be excused for thinking Dâm-Funk just stepped out of a time portal from 1983. The 38-year-old keyboardist/singer/DJ champions funk with a capital "F."
"The funk is about freeing your mind," declares the ambassador of boogie, born Damon Riddick. "It's about not just making a track that some dumbass can slide down a pole to but one where the chorus can heal you. I want to use funk as a catalyst to speak to people and touch on ideas, remembering their childhood or experiencing a beautiful sunset or just getting away from the rat race we deal with every day. It's not just about making a track in an MPC-2000; it's about making music that actually touches people."
With songs like "Spacecapades," "The Sky Is Ours," and "Flying V Ride" from 5-LP debut odyssey Toeachizown (Stones Throw), Dâm-Funk joins a tradition of black artists from Sun Ra and George Clinton to Weezy captivated by the cosmos.
"We would be so selfish to think that we're the only living beings in that entire universe when we look up into the sky and see those millions of trillions of stars sparkling."
Although he came up as a session musician in L.A. for left coast rappers like Westside Connection and MC Eiht, Dâm-Funk remains rooted in the synthesized sounds of early 1980s funk, carrying the torch for Cameo, Prince, and Slave as a DJ and through his original compositions.
"They definitely won't get it overnight, but when the dust settles, I hope that people will be able to look back and say, 'Man, that cat really did release something special' as they sit there with the box set in their hand."