I miss UK funky. Girls always loved it and danced to it no matter what, and the vocal tracks always reminded me of a UK version of Latin freestyle. All the lyrics were about crushing on somebody or getting down on the dancefloor or both, and the instrumental tunes always went so hard in the club, though you wouldn't think so just listening to them at home. I remember hearing Hard House Banton's "Sirens" in my studio and thinking "eh, that's a cool tune"—then I watched it get two rewinds and destroy a dancefloor three days later.
RinseFM's Brackles has kept the funky flame burning. On his 2012 album, Rinse Presents: Brackles, he came correct with the UK realness we know and love—the bashy, upfront drums and weird synths of classic grime, two-step, and bassline house—and freshened it all up for a new year. "Chasing Crazy" was a ballad that could have played on the UK R&B charts while a lot of the other cuts had those catchy, fluorescent basslines that make for perfect funky bangers. Brackles has a new EP coming out on Rinse—it's called Go and you can check it out here. Give it a listen and you'll know what I'm talking about.
Since we both love and miss the genre dearly I asked Brackles to narrate our UK funky trip down memory lane. "UK Funky is over now," he tells me. "But it was great while it lasted. So with a tear in my eye, here are my top seven UK funky records."
Fuzzy Logik feat Egypt - "In The Morning"
"Probably my favourite vocal UK funky track—so simple but so memorable. I wish Fuzzy Logik were still putting out records now."
Meleka - "Go (Crazy Cousinz Remix)"
"A lot of people might not agree with this but I prefer this to 'Do You Mind.' Murlo has a great bootleg that I'm playing at the minute where he's put the acapella on top of Kevin Gates - 'Arms of Stranger.'"
Geeneus - "Yellowtail"
"The first tune that got me into funky when Kode 9 was playing it. The whole Volumes EP this came out on is worth picking up."
Addictive - "Bad Girl (Champion Remix)"
"Any 'best of' UK Funky has gotta have some Champion tracks in there and I'm a sucker for a vocal track so had to go for this one."
DJ MA1 - "Give it Up to Me"
"I remember having this on in the car thinking it was sick, then hearing MC Ranking going nuts and it getting wheeled on Rinse. One of the more underrated tunes on this list."
DJ Mystery ft. Natalie K - "Speechless"
"Another great vocal funky track. Love that weird rippling synth that drives the tune."
Ill Blu - "Frontline"
"I played this at a Numbers NYE party in 2009 and it took the roof off. There's a great Mac 10 b2b Marcus Nasty set where Mac 10 starts with a dubplate of this."