Gang of Four, Minutemen, The Pop Group, Big Boys … obviously, Red Hot Chili Peppers weren't the first alternative group with an interest in funk music. But for many of us who came of age musically in the early '90s, they were our gateway drug, the group whose manic rendition of "Higher Ground" led us young ones to the pure awesomeness that is Stevie Wonder's mid-'70s catalog: Talking Book, Innervisions, Songs in the Key of Life. From these titles, it was just a short leap to Sly & the Family Stone, the P-Funk extended family (including crazy-ass Bootsy) and, of course, mighty James Brown and his J.B.'s.
With this playlist, you get classics from all these artists, including the original "Higher Ground," Woodstock anthem "I Want to Take You Higher," "Sex Machine" and "Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow." But, you'll also be treated to a handful of funk's best deep cuts, like Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band's "Express Yourself" (famously sampled by N.W.A. back in 1989) and Black Heat's "Love the Life You Live," which is absolutely ferocious.