Rickey Vincent Interview
“You need to trust what you believe in … But the thing is: you’ve got to find your path, you’ve got to find your track.”- Rickey Vincent
Rickey Vincent said he met his wife back in the day, after she asked if he was the author of an article that appeared in the campus newspaper. The article was about James Brown, and likened Brown to a political prisoner. She appreciated his angle. And she dug the Funk. But when they went to get married, she didn’t allow a Funk song to be played as she walked down the isle.
And she didn’t name her kids after James Brown’s band members— somewhat to Rickey’s chagrin.
His love for the funk is deeper than most.
When Rickey was a kid, he heard “Up For The Downstroke” in 1974 and his world changed. He was 12. And although Parliament Funkadelic sang to his soul. Their tunes weren’t “Soul Music”, it was funk. The music that came afterSoul, and before Disco; the music that gave birth to more 1990’s Hip-Hop songs than Diddy, back when he was Puff Daddy.
Rickey Vincent, author of “Funk: The Music, The People, and The Rhythm of The One”, is a professor at UC Berkeley. He teaches a class on globalization and Hip-Hop, but he specializes in the history of Funk music.
Recently, I sat down with Prof. Vincent, and talked for an hour. We discussed Rick James, Jonny Guitar Watson, Chaka Khan, Too Short, the saxophonist with arguably the coolest name ever— Maceo… and of course: James Brown.
I cut the interview down to 7 minutes— all about James Brown, for your enjoyment!
Oh! And before I got out of the KPFA studio in Berkeley, I asked Rickey, if he had the chance to give the youth some wisdom, what would he tell them?
OG Told Me:
"Unplug everything for a short period of time everyday. And just listen to what your soul is telling you.”- Rickey Vincent