William “Bootsy” Collins is back, and he’s bringing the funk – with a little help from his friends.
“Tha Funk Capital of The World,” released last Tuesday, is Collins’ first CD in five years, and it isn’t just funk for funk’s sake – there’s a message in the music. And to help deliver it, Collins enlisted the oratory skills of The Rev. Al Sharpton, Professor Cornel West, actor Samuel L. Jackson, and one Tom Joyner.
“Back when I was coming up, we had voices. We had people that pretty much gave us hope in the community,” Collins told BlackAmericaWeb.com. “Nowadays, you don’t hear that anymore. I wanted to go and grab songs and concepts that would give people inspiration, hope.”
“It was pretty amazing for me to see these guys of this caliber that’re not necessarily musicians, but have the knowledge and the voice to speak and people will listen,” Collins continued.
But don’t think “Funk Capital” is just a spoken-word record with Bootsy thumping his famous bass in the background. He serves up the funk with assists from musical friends like Public Enemy’s Chuck D, Sheila E., Snoop Dogg, Parliament-Funkadelic ringmaster George Clinton, Ice Cube, jazz banjo player Bela Fleck and the late Catfish Collins, Bootsy’s brother.
“The thing is raising hope like dope,” he said. “You’ve got the music there, and then you have inspiring messages there. It’s kind of a party, but it ain’t the same kind of party we had back in the day. It’s more of an education thing, a musical biography of sorts, for me to point people in the direction from where I came from and how I got to where I’m at now in hopes that they start realizing where they’re at.”
That’s why Sharpton speaks to the sound of the beat on “JB – Still the Man,” a tribute to the late James Brown. Sharpton was a Brown protégé, and Collins played bass in Brown’s band.