As the UK makes a (cautious!) those rum-soaked nights in a club we’ve all missed so much, one genre will unite crowds around the nation: UK Funky House. If you look back to the raves you have been to, no matter whether it was packed out with a bunch of uni students on the lash or sophisticated business higher-ups, it seems that in the club everyone can dance the same to a UKF tune. Combining UK garage, grime, house and more, here was a true London export that, as we shall see, defined the mid-to-late ’00s. Here are 10 ten songs to get you in the mood for your soon-to-be unforgettable club nights to come.
Attacca Pesante and Shea Soul, ‘Make It Funky For Me’ (2009)
A sunny tune that reminds you of an Ibizan club strip on Sun, Sex, and Suspicious Parents, ‘Make It Funny For Me’ is surely a tune to get every one flinging around their gun fingers, skanking away before the next morning’s hangover. Bringing out those soothing endorphins, this song is usually the perfect tune to start off your funky mix.
Donae’o, ‘Party Hard’ (2009)
You can’t make a list about UKF without this sound. Breaking down barriers for the mainstream to accept a more soulful, mellow alternative to the quickened garage music, Donae’o’s ‘Party Hard’ also lives on as an anthem to grill some burgers to. A versatile tune, the song can ignite a chorus in the club. As you drape yourself over your friends with drinks in their hands, this subgenre staple is one of those UK anthems that will live on by the hands of the right DJs.
Katy B & Ms Dynamite, ‘Lights On’ (2011)
Katy B was once storming the charts with her girl-next-door appearance, and years later, still has one of the best UKF songs ever. Teaming up with the award-winning Ms Dynamite MBE – the queen of MCing over funky garage sounds – ‘Lights On’ is camouflaged as a pop song, but when you put it on in the club, it’s so easy to get done and busy to alongside some of your other UKF favourites. Mixing the soft singing voice of Katy B with the quickspitting rhymer that is Ms Dynamite, it’s the perfect balance of singing and rapping.
Funky Dee, ‘Are You Gonna Bang Doe?’ (2010)
One of the few times grime and garage marry up to give us a generational banger, ‘Are You Gonna Bang Doe?’ lives on in the club as a gritty tune to aggressively flail your gun fingers around. Moving the rawness of grime onto a groovier, garage-friendly beat, Funky Dee managed to encompass the rebellious merger that UKF really is. For all those years where grime MCs were seen as lesser than by the garage community, this song proved that the two can live together in perfect harmony. The exuberant backing track is so infectious that it’s so easy to accidentally hit someone after violently skanking away.
K.I.G, ‘Head, Shoulder, Kneez, and Toez’ (2008)
Taking a well-known nursery rhyme and making it one of the newest dance crazes of the ’00s, K.I.G has everyone reciting the rhyme whilst tapping their foot on command. Those dance instructions aren’t there for nothing – what are you waiting for?
Raw Vybes, ‘DPMO’
Everyone has those times when nothing seems to go right, and it’s so easy to spew out the common colloquialism “don’t piss me off” wherever those little inconveniences arise. In honour to those annoying off-days, singing this one along in the club makes all that annoyance go away. ‘DPMO’ IS almost becomes a mantra for those bad days where skanking can be your only solution to a hard day. This is one of the few times that you can adopt a bit of UKF into your everyday life.
Skepta, Wiley & BBK, ‘Too Many Man’ (2009)
You’re not a true Skepta fan if you don’t know this one. Many will relate to a song about nights when you and your boys wanted to find a cute girl to dance with, but that wasn’t possible because there were just too many men – yeah, Boy Better Know knew that problem all too well. Back in the ’00s when grime raves were a place for a woman, with wall-to-wall being sweaty guys, this song was a shoutout to all the girls who were actually in the rave.
Donae’o, ‘I’m Fly’ (2010)
Donae’o made funky house popular, and without him, UKF might still have been a secretive moment in UK music many wouldn’t have known about. He became a real pioneer of UKF by popularising the defiant sound, and ‘I’m Fly’ has to also be mentioned whenever you talk about the infectious club genre. Full of cocky lyrics and that unforgettable skatting section, it’s proof that Donae’o is the only person able to get you blabbing belligerent sounds for fun in the club.
Egypt, ‘In The Morning’ (2009)
A beautiful love song that can stand up against Sweet Female Attitude’s ‘Flowers’, ‘In the Morning’ is one of those sickly sweet songs that’s suitable for anything: a club set, a wedding, or simply in your cleaning up playlist. Being one of the most versatile UKF songs ever, Egypt made something that is worth cherishing and brings memories of many sun-kissed nights. And that sentimental feeling we feel while listening to ‘In The Morning’ is the reason it’s one of the best funky house songs ever.
Crazy Cousinz & Kyla, ‘Do You Mind’ (2008)
Remember Drake‘s stonker of a Number One, ‘One Dance? Well, it sampled this iconic track. Before getting the OVO founder’s sultry vocals all over it, it was a song that packed out the dancefloor, and you were stupid not to two-step to. After it became part of a record-breaking Number One (at 11 weeks in pole position, it was became the longest-running chart-topper since legal downloads began to count towards chart positions), it was high time to revisit Kyla’s whimsical vocals, and the minimalistic take on UKF that Crazy Cousinz loved to play around with sometimes.
Whatever version you listen to, ‘Do You Mind’ will forever be a serene tune to lose your mind to in a dance. And remember: stay safe!