In the 1970s, as the rise of disco exacerbated racially charged divisions between rock & roll and dance music, a band from Chicago brought on the funk with a force, and grace, that defied all boundaries. First formed by black and white members of the 1960s rock band, the American Breed, Rufus acquired a secret weapon in Chaka Khan, whose voice of liquid fire and sweet incense carried a carnality as ferocious as it was distinctly feminine. Stevie Wonder, an early fan, crafted the breakthrough hit “Tell Me Something Good,” which Rufus and Khan made an unabashed simulation of sex without uttering a single naughty word.
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