Cincinnati music’s most iconic figure, Bootsy Collins, is gearing up to release a new album this spring, the funkmaster’s first new material in five years. The guest list on Tha Funk Capital of the World is stacked with superstars from various fields, not just music. Along with Hip Hop legends Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg and Chuck D (who all perform with Bootsy on one track, “Hip Hop @ Funk U”), eclectic banjo master Bela Fleck and fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bobby Womack, the 16-track collection also features such non-musical figures as Al Sharpton, Tom Joyner, Dr. Cornel West and actor Samuel Jackson. Funk Capital has an April 26 release date.
Tha Funk Capital of the World is being issued by Dutch label Mascot Records, which specializes in releasing albums by Rock guitar virtuosos like John 5, Steve Morse, Joe Bonamassa, George Lynch and Michael Schenker, as well as Metal and Hard Rock groups like Masters of Reality, Heathen and LA Guns.
Collins says he came up with the idea for the project — mainly a tribute to some of the musicians Collins admires — when he put together the James Brown tribute tour a couple of years ago. By paying tribute to these legends, Collins hopes to “connect the dots” for younger music fans who might not have a grasp on music’s pioneers, the groundbreakers who made music what it is today. Collins is in good position to present such a project since he is one of those pioneers himself (and it is fitting given Collins' involvement with the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation, which similarly puts the spotlight on musical entities from Collins’ hometown that are often unnoticed or underappreciated.) Among the artists tributed on the record are late P-Funk guitarist Garry Shider and the Funk king himself, James Brown.
The album also features longtime collaborators, friends and protégés, including his late brother, influential guitarist Catfish Collins, Parliament/Funkadelic mastermind George Clinton, experimental axe-artiste Buckethead and local singer Razzberry. The track “Mirrors Tell Lies” even has a cameo by Jimi Hendrix. No, he wasn’t resurrected, Funkenstein-style — the song includes recordings of the late guitar hero talking about his life and philosophy). Collins narrated the documentary included in the recent Hendrix box set, West Coast Seattle Boy.
Collins recently told Billboard that he wanted to make an album that went beyond his trademark Funk style. “"I wanted to add a little Rock, a little Jazz, a little Gospel in there, just come up with this thing where I can break out into a whole new kind of area,” he told the magazine. “You still get a whole lot of Funk, but at the same time we took a few different approaches.”
He also told Billboard he hopes to tour behind the release and play shows with many of the guests featured on Tha Funk Capital of the World.
Here’s the complete tracklisting for the forthcoming release:
2. Hip Hop @ Funk U (with Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg and Chuck D)
3. Mirrors Tell Lies (with Jimi Hendrix)
4. JB-Still The Man (with Rev. Al Sharpton)
5. Freedumb (with Dr. Cornel West)
6. After These Messages (with Samuel L. Jackson)
7. Kool Whip (with Phil Ade and iCandice)
8. The Real Deal (with Sheila E. and iCandice)
9. Don't Take My Funk (with Catfish Collins and Bobby Womack)
10. If Looks Could Kill (with Bela Fleck, Zionplanet-10 and Dennis Chambers)
11. Minds Under Construction (with Buckethead and (Z-Class))
12. Siento Bombo (with Olvido Ruiz and Ouiwey)
13. Garry Shider Tribute (with George Clinton and Linda Shider)
14. Stars Have No Names (They Just Shine) (with Nick Arnold and Chrissy Dunn)
15. Chocolate Caramel Angel (with Faith Daniels, Ronni Racket and Casper)
16. Yummy, I Got The Munchies (with Musiq Soulchild, Razzberry Hershey and Tom Joyner)