Category: Dam-Funk

Jovan 'J-1' Coleman of Dam-Funk's Master Blazter dies

On Monday night, the news broke on Twitter than Jovan "J-1" Coleman, the drummer in Dam-Funk's Master Blazter trio, had died Sunday in Sweden. The cause of death is unknown. He was 32.

Dam-Funk has released this statement:

"At this time, we send our most deepest condolences 2 the family & friends of J-1/Jovan Coleman, who passed in Sweden. Details on his passing are not available at this time. Just know that our brother will be missed deeply. *R.I.P. 2 our brother J-1 (Jovan Coleman) aka THE DEER & drummer of Master Blazter. *We love U sincerely brother & we will always rep U!!"

On Monday evening, Coleman's life was celebrated at Funkmosphere at Carbon, with an all wax set from his close friend DJ House Shoes.  The news of his death has rocked the local music world, with a litany of DJs and musicians tweeting their condolences, including Peanut Butter Wolf of Stones Throw and Brainfeeder's Flying Lotus and Gaslamp Killer. ?uestlove of the Roots, no stranger to exceptional drumming, also sent out a RIP message.

After moving to Los Angeles four years ago, Coleman cut an impressive swath through the music world. Both a drummer and producer, Coleman joined Shafiq Husayn's En'AFreeKa Ensemble and Animal Kingdom. In addition, he dropped beat tapes and podcasts through Heavyweight Production House (HVW8). Yet he was most fondly remembered as the percussive heart of Master Blazter. Just watch this clip of the band playing a set at the HVW8 Gallery to see a drummer with an unparalleled sense of space, swing and timing. 

Earlier this year, he released a stellar mix to accompany his "The Yellow" EP. In the weeks to come, there will inevitably be a spate of tributes to the Deer, but his own work might amount to the best eulogy possible. 


Dam-Funk explains how to keep one's 'Hood Pass Intact'

Dam-Funk drops Beats in Space mix, headlines the El Rey

Snoop Dogg performs with Dam-Funk, drops PuffPuffPass mixtape

J1 (The Deer) -- "The Yellow" (EP) promo mix by Recordbreakin

-- Jeff Weiss

Photo: Jovan "J-1" Coleman; Credit: Stones Throw website

Dam-Funk drops Beats in Space mix, headlines the El Rey (Updated: DJ Quik announced as special guest)


It's strange to think that Dam-Funk has only been officially releasing music for two years. Our Internet-addled memories are short, and it's difficult to remember the benighted era before the Pasadena-raised potentate of modern funk made his first appearance on wax (on this Baron Zen remix, for those keeping score).

Two years ago, the word boogie funk was rarely used and if any element of funk was tapped into, it was the more psychedelic-skewing variety pioneered by George Clinton. Boogie and the post-disco era of Slave and Aurra was often wrongly lampooned for its kitschy costumes and sleek pop sheen. And while some of the costumes may have been garish, there was no denying the musicianship, and indelible groove of the artists who thrived during the era between Prince's "Controversy" and the dawn of Teddy Riley and New Jack Swing.

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Snoop Dogg performs with Dam-Funk, drops Puff Puff Pass mixtape

Dogghouse-10-590x888 The gods must be funky. How else to explain the serendipitous circumstance of kindred spirits, Snoop Dogg and Dam-Funk, linking up for an impromptu performance on Wednesday night at the HVW8 Art Gallery.

The Adidas-sponsored celebration centered on an exhibition for Joe Cool, the artist for many of Snoop Dogg's album covers. And when you combine the triumvirate of Funk, Dogg, and a man named Cool, it was inevitable that the powers of George Clinton would be summoned (presumably, at this point Snoop has been bestowed with a magical ring or amulet that does such a thing). Videos of the event are available here and here (NSFW because of four-letter words).

As you might imagine the sound quality is muddy, but they hint of the potential of a full-length collaboration between the "G" and P-Funk steeped artists (do it). The performance completed a full circle of sorts for the Stones Throw-signed Damon Riddick, who cut his teeth playing keyboards in mid-90s sessions for gangsta rap icons Westside Connection and MC Eiht.

As anyone who heard 2009's "Toeachizown" can testify, Dam-Funk's Randy's Donuts-fat basslines and big sky grooves are ideal for the right rapper. And despite the excellent "Hood Pass Intact Remix" with Eiht, and an invite from Dr. Dre to jam in a studio session (reluctantly declined because of schedule conflict), Funk has largely collaborated with singers (Nite Jewel, Steve Arrington of Slave).

As for Snoop, he's staying busy promoting next month's forthcoming, "Doggumentary," dropping the "Puff Puff Pass" Mixtape this week. Filled with collaborations with The Game, Wiz Khalifa, R Kelly and Too Short, the new tape is largely comprised of material from his weekly free giveaway series and other odds and sodds. As with most Dogg-related projects (circa 2011), the quality ranges, but it's invariably an enjoyable listen, ideal for cruises from Crenshaw to Chatsworth.

-- Jeff Weiss

ZIP: Snoop Dogg-"PuffPuffPassTuesdays"

Photo: Snoop and Dam-Funk. Courtesy of HVW8 

Dam-Funk explains how to keep one's 'Hood Pass Intact'

Dam Funk's hood pass remains so durable that he can wear a velvet fedora, smoke cloves, sip daiquiris and still be beloved everywhere from San Pedro to Chatsworth. Many cannot do such things, but then, most haven't collaborated with MC Eiht and Westside Connection. Nor do we properly understand how to wield a vocoder, the soundtrack to L.A. anthems since the days of Zapp and the Egyptian Lover. And indeed, Dam-Funk is the rightful heir to their throne -- a polymath able to play the keytar and the talkbox, and DJ obscure boogie jams with obscene and innate levels of funk.

Directed by Henry DeMaio, the video for "Hood Pass Intact" captures a day in the life of Damon Riddick. The conceit was simple. Follow him around with cameras as he goes through his daily routine, which involves coffee in diners, getting down at the Funkmosphere, buying vintage gear and passing out ice cream to local children.

And for those questioning why he'd wear a Pittsburgh Pirates cap in a video celebrating L.A. life, he's repping his native Pasadena.  Essentially, it proves that he's the funk Ferris Bueller. But don't expect to see him tooling around in a Ferrari 250 GT anytime soon. Dam's more of a vintage Chrysler Cordoba man -- which is to be expected from someone whose hood pass is inalienable.

-- Jeff Weiss

MP3: Dam Funk ft. MC Eiht -- "Hood Pass Intact"

'A Day At the Carnival' with Dam-Funk

Damfunk-mathewscott_3308 Every day may not be a carnival for Dam-Funk, but his music could convince you otherwise. The Leimert Park-based master of modern funk has the ability to transform the myth of Los Angeles into sound. Suddenly, the clanking traffic of the rush hour commute opens up into the empty speedway of "10 West." Songs like "Sunset" and  "Galactic Fun" shine with the rare refulgence of fulfilled dreams.

Released on Proximal Records' impressively thorough "Narrative of a City" compilation, his latest track, "A Day at the Carnival," takes you down to the Santa Monica Pier at twilight: synths as bright as cotton candy, snares as staccato as a game of arcade air hockey, and kick drums as booming as a barker's voice.

The Stones Throw-signed funkster has been on an impressive roll since the release of last year's "Toeachizown," releasing tracks at a relentless clip via his equally entertaining and informative Twitter (he's right about Prefab Sprout) and indefatigably touring the globe.

Last Friday, he delivered a monstrous homecoming set at the Troubadour, alongside backing band Master Blazter, channeling the usual suspects (Prince, Slave, Aurra), but also the guests he brought on-stage, MC Eiht and Jody Watley.  For full details, Watley's rapturous recap on her blog is recommended.

"The atmosphere at The Troubadour," Watley writes, "reminded me of the first time I saw Prince at The Roxy at his Los Angeles debut concert. It was raw, sexy and funky. Just as it was with Prince, it was easy to recognize that you were witnessing something transformational. Dam-funk blends classic sounds of the 70's and 80's with his own gangsta swagger and signature modern electro sound, turning it into a new and intoxicating brew."

The evening revealed the full extent of Funk's versatility, rendering a deliriously funky interpretation of Eiht's "Straight Up Menace" (includes profanity) and backing Watley's "Looking For a New Love" and "Friends" with his own "(My Funk Goes) On & On," along with more from his rapidly growing discography.

In honor of the occasion and Monday night's fourth anniversary celebration of his Funkmosphere residency at Culver City's Carbon, here are a few of the prolific artist's most recent cuts, best heard in a booming system while traveling at high velocity.

-- Jeff Weiss


MP3:Dam-Funk - "A Day at the Carnival"

MP3: Dam-Funk - "Paradise"

MP3: Dam-Funk-"IHopeUKnowImWatchingJune

MP3: Dam-Funk-"How U Gonna' Choose a Busta (Over a Real Gangsta)?"

Stream: Dam-Funk - "Westside Pasadena" (Left-Click)

Photo: Dam-Funk. Credit: Matthew Scott

Dam-Funk covers the Human League's 'Things That Dreams Are Made Of'

Dam-Funk is one of the most intriguing musical artists to come onto the L.A. scene in the last few years, a one-of-a-kind funkster with a vision and an obsession. That obsession is funk, yes, but it's the big-tent version of the subgenre, the kind that knows no race or ethnicity, that appreciates the rigid, Anglicized offshoot, synth-pop.

In the wild, wonderful video above, Dam-Funk, who's on the mighty Stones Throw imprint out of Eagle Rock, covers the Human League's "Things That Dreams Are Made Of," and does it in a fashion that's both loose and reverential. Better, it gives us a broader understanding of where Dam is coming from, stylistically. Best: It features Dam's plasticized Van Dyke beard, an homage to DEVO's energy domes, perhaps, but even weirder.

-- Randall Roberts


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