March 21, 2019

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Evan Gabriel used to pop lock for Uncle Jamm’s Army. 

In adolescent memory, there are always people who stand out as the coolest. For Pasadena singer Moniquea, this role seems to have been filled by an older cousin, Jermaine, whose style and black coupe she fondly recalls in her latest single, “Los Robles & Washington.” Produced by fellow Pasadena native, XL Middleton, the single is an ode to the soil you’re from, a nostalgiac celebration of the City of Roses.

In the video, Moniquea sports low-top yellow forces and a black Dena Girl hoodie as she leisurely shuffles to the register of a corner store, Banana Red 20/20 in hand. She dances with friends in the wine aisle, in front of the Rose Bowl, and out of the passenger seat window while cruising the tightly manicured lawns below towering palms. Marking what’s changed over the years, Moniquea shouts out previous area codes, the 818 having been introduced in 1984 as a geographical split from the 213.

While you can no longer spend your Thursday nights at Funkmosphere (RIP), modern funk residencies do still exist. With the help of key community member such as Moniquea and Middleton, nights like Shoulder Work at Verdugo Bar, or “Pop Lock Funk” at the Melody Lounge lounge still draw poppers and lockers, who get busy as the DJs envelope the dancers in decades worth of boogie and electro gems.

The release of “Los Robles & Washington” comes just as Moniquea gears up for her debut in Japan. She and XL Middleton are scheduled for two shows in Yokohama and Shibuya at the end of March. It’s a long distance from Washington Park, but it’s a good indicator of just how universal funk remains in 2019.

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