A seminal funk band who injected Caribbean and Latin spirit into their infectious grooves, Mandrill's melting pot of sounds led to them becoming a huge influence on some of hip hop's biggest stars. Formed in Brooklyn, New York by Panamanian brothers Carlos, Lou and Ric Wilson, the band named themselves after the African ape because of its colourful face, fierce anger and love of family, and began rehearsing in their mother's beauty salon. Inspired by the psychedelic jazz rock of Santana, the band hit their prime with third album Composite Truth (1973), a fusion of boogie, world music and funk that produced the classic single Fencewalk and became regarded as one of the great soul albums of the era. More underground hits included Mango Meat, Can You Get It and Funky Monkey, and the band went on to record the soundtrack to the Muhammad Ali film The Greatest (1977) as they spread a mantra of peace, love and justice. Later on their music became part of the fabric of hip hop with artists such as Public Enemy, Eminem, Kanye West and a whole host of rappers sampling their tracks into background beats and they have remained a live attraction, particularly at festivals.

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