We were excited to see the conversation our female punk icons post generated, finding relief in the fact that while Rolling Stone may have overlooked these women, our readers certainly haven’t. Unfortunately, punk rock isn’t the only genre in which women have been notoriously sidelined — often, a funk album’s only female presence is its scantily clad cover model. When pressed, true funk aficionados can name a few women who brought the funk but, more often than not, Chaka Khan is the only artist who gets credit for her contribution. While we love our Chaka, there are plenty of other ladies who tore the roof off the sucker, so we’ve compiled a list of 10 women who should be in every funk fan’s collection. As always, this is in no way a definitive list, merely a launching pad for further investigation.
There is a good reason why even the novice funk listener knows Chaka Khan — with a voice that seems to erupt out of her and a confidence that turns each song into a exclamation, Khan has been featured on some of the most recognizable songs in the genre. When serving as the frontwoman for Grammy award-winning Rufus, she pushed funk into the mainstream, releasing six platinum-selling albums and multiple crossover hits. In 1978, Khan embarked on a successful solo career which continues to this day.