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Minneapolis sound

The Minneapolis sound is a subgenre of funk rock with elements of synth-pop and new wave, that was pioneered by Prince in the late 1970s. Its popularity was given a boost throughout the 1980s, thanks to him and his musical adherents, including The Time, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Morris Day, Vanity 6, Apollonia 6, Ta Mara & the Seen, Sheila E., Jesse Johnson, Brownmark, Mazarati, The Jets, The Family and most of his The Revolution back up band, such as offshoot duo, Wendy & Lisa.

According to the Rolling Stone Album Guide, "the Minneapolis sound... loomed over mid-'80s R&B and pop, not to mention the next two decades' worth of electro, house, and techno."

Some artists who came from Minnesota were influenced by Prince's work and some came from other parts of the U.S. or world, such as Scottish star Sheena Easton; Flint, Michigan's Ready for the World; and Los Angeles, California's Cherrelle.

Identifying characteristics

While the "Minneapolis sound" was a form of funk, it had some distinguishing characteristics:
  • Synthesizers generally replaced horns, and were used more as accent than as fill or background.
  • The rhythm was often faster and less syncopated than traditional funk, and owed much to new wave music.
  • Guitars, while usually (but not always) played "clean" for rhythm parts, were frequently much louder and more aggressively processed during solos than in most traditional funk.
  • The "bottom" of the sound was less bass-heavy than traditional funk; drums and keyboards filled more of the "bottom".
  • The drums were more highly processed than in traditional funk.

    Artists associated with the Minneapolis sound

  • Prince
  • Adam Ant (the Manners and Physique album)
  • Apollonia 6
  • Brownmark
  • Ingrid Chavez
  • Cherrelle
  • AndrĂ© Cymone
  • Morris Day
  • Dez Dickerson
  • Sheila E.
  • The Jets
  • Sheena Easton
  • The Family
  • The Human League (the Crash album)
  • Janet Jackson (Control and Rhythm Nation 1814 albums)
  • Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
  • Jesse Johnson and Jesse Johnson's Revue
  • Lipps Inc.
  • Lizzo
  • Mazarati
  • Alexander O'Neal
  • 94 East
  • St. Paul
  • Ready for the World
  • The Revolution
  • Ta Mara and the Seen
  • The Time
  • Vanity 6
  • Wendy & Lisa
  • Natural Selection
  • Mint Condition

  • Bruno Mars has incorporated this style into his music. Most notably the hugely successful "Uptown Funk", including his hit single "Gorilla".
  • Some songs on Don Henley's Building The Perfect Beast (including the hit "All She Wants To Do Is Dance", and album tracks like "Drivin' With Your Eyes Closed" and "Land of the Living") resembled the electronic/dance-rock sound of the genre.
  • Culture Club's first album incorporated similar arrangements of the style on designated songs.
  • Gwen Stefani's 2004 song "Harajuku Girls" co-produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis incorporated the sound in its rhythmic and synthpop arrangements.