(Not Just) Knee Deep

Album: Uncle Jam Wants You (1979)
Charted: 77
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This funk classic tells the story of a guy who meets a girl at a party and has her dance for him. He's blown away when she does "The Freak."
  • "Deep" was a favorite saying among George Clinton and his crew. In 1978, Funkadelic's offshoot Parliament released a song called "Deep" on their album Motor Booty Affair. On this track, the lady is not just knee deep, but totally deep, which is all consuming.
  • Disco was winding down at this time, but still very much alive. George Clinton survived the era by staying true to the funk. He said "(Not Just) Knee Deep" was intended "to rescue dance music from the blahs." This mission statement appears on the album cover.
  • Philippe Wynne, who was lead singer of The Spinners until leaving that group in 1977, sings on this track. He was part of the P-Funk collective around this time.
  • The writing credits on this one are a little confusing. According to the song's publisher (Bridgeport Music), which writes the royalty checks, Clinton and Philippe Wynne are the writers. The single and album list Clinton as the only writer though.

    Junie Morrison, who is listed as a keyboard player on the album and as the arranger on the single, clearly had a big role in creating the song (he is listed as a co-writer on "One Nation Under A Groove"). Morrison, who was a member of The Ohio Players before joining Funkadelic, told Red Bull Music Academy: "I created 'Knee Deep' using a drum machine, Fender Rhodes, Steinway Grand, Mini-Moog for the lead and bass lines and a Gibson L6S for my jazzy guitar solo. Bootsy [Collins] added his drums at a later date. In fact, Bootsy was also the drummer on 'One Nation (Under A Groove).' Michael Hampton added his monumental guitar solo to the Knee Deep mix some time later, as well. Although Bernie Worrell is a phenomenal musician, contrary to popular belief, he did not perform on "(Not Just) Knee Deep."

    Morrison added: "The track is of my conception. It originally began with the idea, groove and keyboard parts that I had created a few years prior to producing the track for Funkadelic, which later became '(Not Just) Knee Deep," as you now know it today."
  • On the album, this runs 15:23. The single was split into two sides, with Part 1 running 4:25 and Part 2 coming in at 5:20.
  • In 1989, De La Soul sampled the intro to this song on their hit "Me Myself And I." Other rap songs to sample it include "Nitro" by LL Cool J, "Funky Cold Medina" by Tone Loc, "Who Am I?" by Snoop Dogg and "Dre Day" by Dr. Dre.

    The De La Soul sample helped bring P-Funk to a new audience. "I get back more than they do," George Clinton explained that year in Dance Music Report. "They used 'Knee Deep' and they paid, but I get paid in a different way because I know how to appreciate it, the fact that they used the music. If they're hot with the kids and the kids like them then they'll like me."

    According to Clinton, he earned $100,000 for the sample.
  • This was the second #1 R&B hit for Funkadelic, following "One Nation Under A Groove."
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Comments: 6

  • Edwin from El Monte,caWhat’s that noise? It kind of sounds like the scraping of bass strings? It can also be heard in “The Big Bang Theory”. These are some of my all time favorites but not knowing where that noise is coming from bugs me. Please help.
  • Markantney from BiloxeAug 2014,

    When "Freak" is used in R&B Dance tunes, though it can be referenced as "Dancing"; that ain't what it's really about. It's about uninhibited:):) relations and/or a person (woman usually) willing to partake in such relations:):),...hopefully with YOU.

    Just as "Rock and Roll" is a (PG) way of saying something else.

    That said; between "(Not Just) Knee Deep", their other hit "One Nation Under a Groove", are cuts to have.

    The Album/Long Versions.
  • Simon from Atlanta, GaActually, the song is about this freak bringing him out of his shell. Instead of thinking that it could be her, he thought it was the music. Btw, Secret Weapon's "Must Be The Music" was based on this.
  • Husky from Louisville, KyTo Kevin from Crestview, FL:

    Respectfully, the listed year at the top of the page IS correct. Now, you mighta bought the 45 in 1981, but the song was actually RELEASED on 45 in '79, as well as on the "Uncle Jam Wants You" album in the same year.

    Hope that helps,
    ~~Husky Noir~~
  • Kevin from Crestview, FlGreat song and info; however, the year was 1981, not 1979. I actually bought the 45 and bought Double Dutch Bus (Frankie Smith) and Rosanna (Toto) at the same timeframe.
  • John from Nashville, TnThis #1 r&b hit featured a guest appearance by former Spinners lead singer Phillipe Wynne.
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