Not so long ago, when whatever you’d call that genre-defying audio loveliness that bands like Earth, Wind & Fire, Sly & The Family Stone, and artists like Marvin Gaye (Post-Motown Productions, Pre-Parricide) and Stevie Wonder (Post Motown Production-pre-“I just called to say I love you…”) were churning out consistently (I dare you to call it Pop!!! I double dare you!!!) began to wane; while Hip Hop was still in swaddling clothes, umbillically bound to a glowing Mama Soul glistening with Funk sweat from her labor (and a tryst or two, word has it), with dying Daddy Disco doing the death-rattle down the hall in intensive care – tubes protruding from every orifice, suffering from a syndrome called fame and a fatal infusion of the Benjamins those Jive Talkin’ Bee Gees in cahoots with John Travolta hustled out of the wallets of sheep in wolves clothing (and a lot of real wolves, too, let the truth be told. You know you were bopping your head to Staying Alive, be honest!) …while all of this was going on, the venerable Uncle Funk, holding the family together, as he’d been doing admirably since Jazz got croaked, was handing out cigars in the waiting room…like he was the daddy!
Now, Uncle Funk had many faces…all attractive. The more famous would be the Man hisself James Brown- and his protegé, which would be basically anyone who funked it up after him… most notably George Clinton.
But there were a few faces that tended to get lost in the crowd of Funkmasters.
One was a gentleman by the name of Captain Sky.
So, we’re talking that precious musical transitional period between 1979-1981, right? I was living in Brooklyn, in an apartment building built for royalty, but White Flight carried their royal asses to the Island of Long, and so this abandoned castle was left to the peasants, people barely aspiring to be bourgeoisie. I lived with my Moms and 6 brothers and sisters, and life was good as it gets in the ghetto.
My two older brothers would come home with stolen loot on a regular basis. That’s just how they got down. So, I never questioned where the records came from. All I know is we were supplied with more disco 45s than music lovers like us could ever ask for. And, Funk was in heavy rotation. Especially the dirty stuff.
The above song, Captain Sky’s Super Sporm, fit the bill and then some.
“What’s Super Sperm?” I asked, inquisitive mofo that I am.
“When you fucking a girl, right, that’s what comes out!” my oldest brother, Changa, all of 16 at the time and basically the Man of the House, explained. My pre-adolescent ears sopping it up like a biscuit in gravy. “You used to be Ronnie’s super sperm!”
He and my other older brother, Sekou, an aspiring DJ, shared a hearty laugh.
We had different fathers, my brothers and I, so they called my father by his first name…something I’d never done til his dying day. Even after we’d been re-united following years of estrangement, years I’d spent building up an ironclad resentment for him, I would never work up the courage to call him by name.
I’d had wet dreams by then, of course. Had even discovered how to dream cream while awake, as well, usually after peeling through the pages of my brother’s Penthouse collection. So, I knew what sperm was. But, Super Sperm? What made sperm “super”?
1- Super sperm was a natural randomly re-occurring phenomenon. And that explained how Rhonda and Rosalyn, those beautiful twins across the street and the stars of my “dreams,” as well as their seven brothers and sisters, came to be. It was due to their father’s copious supply of super sperm.
2- It was as Captain Sky explained it in the song: That “Funk is the potion!” And if I absorb funk in copious amounts I’d one day possess the same Super Sperm my father evidently had. I mean, he’d already had three kids with the woman he was with before he met my mother, and God knows how many other rug rats he had running around.
3-It was hereditary, and since, as my brothers put it, I “used to be Ronnie’s Super Sperm,” that meant that I would develop my own Super Sperm in the years to come! I didn’t know if that was a blessing or a curse.
I would find out about a decade later that the answer was somewhere between my second and third hypothesis.
Big shout out to Captain Sky, Jimmy Castor Bunch, George Clinton and all the other heroes of Funk for…I don’t know…for just keeping funk funky!
And lighting up my Patronus whenever I guzzle a 40 oz. of your potion!
This Funk’s for you!
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