Soul singer James Brown had a strong influence on many musical genres, including hip-hop.

vocalists of the twentieth century—but James Brown didn’t just sing. He also danced with his microphone, he made acrobatic leaps with full-impact knee landings, and his feet beat out the rhythm of his music. His extraordinary sense of timing was expressed in his skill as both a dancer and singer. As a result, he brought rhythm to the foreground of popular music. His influence inspired yet another new form of American music—funk. Compared to 1960s soul music, funk typically uses more complex rhythms, while the melodies are usually simpler. Often, the structure of a funk song consists of just one or two riffs (short, musical phrases). Where one riff changes to another often becomes the highlight of a song. Funk music was meant for dancing, and its goal was to create as intense a groove as possible. One of its most distinctive features was the role played by bass guitars, which never before had played so loudly. The groundwork was laid for the first beats of hip-hop.



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