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Album of the Year: #1 Funkateer

Bootsy Collins Announces New Album

Bootsy Collins. Photo Credit: Joseph Ross Smith

When recording the Song “Album of the Year #1 Funkateer,” Bootsy Collins had a very specific vibe in mind. “I wanted to give the people what they wanted back in the Seventies: a sense of hope, joy, and freedom,” he tells Rolling Stone. “For the people that were not there, it’s a first taste of what it felt like back in the day to be a ‘Funkateer,’ to have party people that you can look up to, to get down with, without shame, but rather with a form of freedom, and self-expression.

With Collins’ bulging low end and the heavy rhythms he and his band mates keep “on the one,” the track echoes the party-starting funk Collins recorded throughout the Seventies with Parliament-Funkadelic and his own Rubber Band. “I guess I better make it clear, this is my album of the year,” he sings matter-of-factly. “And if you wanna be the #1 Funkateer, you just put it on the wall and then bring up the rear.” Collins’ bass just slaps back and forth between the horns and all his guest vocalists. The track serves as the introduction to the funk star’s upcoming 23rd album, also titled Album of the Year #1 Funkateer. The album comes out Oct.25.

“Once I keyed in on what I was diggin’ for, the song came together organically,” Collins says. “I had [the band] Lettuce record a live version of a groove we used to open the show with [‘Ahh… The Name is Bootsy, Baby’]. I kept listening to it, and it felt so good that I felt I was onstage in the Seventies. I thought, ‘Nah, that has to go on a Bootsy’s Rubber Band album.’ So I re-recorded it once again with the emphasis on hip-hop and funk.

“The concept of the song was to acknowledge that funk is universal and present day just like people,” he continues. “The power of ‘The One’ [Collins’ term for funk’s rhythmic thrust] gave me the courage and honor to grant all Funkateers this highest honor by granting each one with the ‘Album of the Year.’ After all, what vitamin do you have to take to be a Funkateer? B-1.”

Like previously released track “The Influencers,” the song sets up the vibe of Album of the Year #1 Funkateer. The LP’s 17 songs feature appearances by Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Ice Cube, Musiq Soulchild, and former Eurythmics member Dave Stewart. “Most of these artists grew up on my music, so they understand what my music and my presence means to a starving people for great talent and guidance,” Collins says. “After all, each one of them are still present day in what they do as well, so we not only like each other for what we do, we respect each other for who we are to this world.”

That sentiment also translates to the overarching message of the album, on which Collins calls for unity and hope. “I really wanted to take people’s minds off of all the hate and hostility towards one another,” he says. “I wanted to give them something that made them smile if only for a moment. If we could have more cookouts than shootouts, that would be a part of the ‘change is gonna come’ that Sam Cooke was talkin’ bout.”


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