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Crate-Digging with Dam-Funk ... at Best Buy

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Thu, Nov 3, 2011 at 8:16 AM

click to enlarge REBECCA HAITHCOAT
  • Rebecca Haithcoat
See also: Dâm-Funk and DJ Quik perform at the El Rey, 11-03-11

Dam-Funk always comes prepared. As L.A.'s ambassador to the funk gods, he's always equipped with the booty-rotation essentials he's acquired from years of digging in the crates. (You can bet his show tonight at the El Rey Theatre will be no exception.)

The man reigns so supremely over everyone else on the scene, it's almost too easy for him. That's why we decided to issue him a challenge. We wondered -- could he find funk in a Best Buy?

And so, we met up at the Westfield Culver City mall and challenged him to pull, from the corporate-scrubbed, focus-group-tested bins, five must-have records. Game and good-natured, Dam said: I'll see your five and give you ten. Here's what he found.

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Lenny Kravitz

Black and White America

"Nice challenge," Dam says, perusing the racks. Turns out he's shopped Best Buy before. Last time he snagged a Rush CD, and this time he decides to start his search in the rock and pop section as well. He finds Lenny Kravitz's new one, Black and White America, which he hasn't heard. "I heard he went back to the funk," he says.

And, while he's in the "K"'s, a brief digression: "KISS is one of my favorite groups, even though they're not funk. I went to one of their concerts at University Amphitheatre when I was a kid. Mötley Crüe opened -- they'd just come out with their first album, and a lot of people were there for them. But KISS still destroyed. I like harder metal, Saxon, Iron Maiden, Venom, Armored Saint."

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Various Artists

Old School Volume 10

"Oh, let's see. This is a good one -- it has 'Candyman' by Mary Jane Girls, 'Walking into Sunshine' from Central Line. If you ever want a genre like funk in a store like Best Buy, it's good to go to the 'Various Artists' section. They don't really order much from the back catalogue of someone like Slave."

"This is a fun challenge," he says. Fun meaning hard.

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Westside Connection

Bow Down

"Westside Connection is rap, but they used a lot of funk. I would get Bow Down just to get it back in my CD collection. It's got a lot of reinterpretations of samples. That's what I liked about West Coast rap; they didn't just outright sample. I played with Westside Connection during this era, but it was a song called 'Let It Reign' from movie called Thicker than Water. And I did a lot of session work. But I don't even remember what I did!"

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