Minneapolis sound

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The Minneapolis sound is a subgenre of funk rock with elements of synthpop and new wave, that was pioneered by Prince in the late 1970s.[1] 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, and The Family.

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."[2]

Prince's third album Dirty Mind from 1980 also earns credit. Pepe Willie, who brought his brand of music to Minneapolis from Brooklyn, New York, in the mid-'70s, is credited with being the first to bring Prince into the studio professionally to play on his group, 94 East's, demo. Owen Husney, Prince's first manager is credited with managing many of the Minneapolis artists at the time, recording them in his American Artists studio, and securing contracts for them with major labels.

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. The Minneapolis sound is also known as a form of funk rock.

Identifying characteristics[edit]

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 pop 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[edit]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Campbell, Michael (2008). Popular Music in America: The Beat Goes On. Cengage Learning, 2008. p. 300. ISBN 0495505307. 
  2. ^ Prince: Biography : Rolling Stone