"Pass The Peas";"Le Freak"; "Get up and Jump";"Shake your Pants""The Crunge"....They all use very similar chords in a Funk setting - what are some Standard Funk Chords and why (from a Music Theory Perspective) have these chords evolved into being embraced as such?
Some of the most popular chords in funk include E9, E7, and E7+9 (also widely known as the so-called "Hendrix Chord", since Jimi used it in "Purple Haze" and other songs), transposed as necessary. Here are their canonical voicings:
E9 and E13 (Often, players will play these without the bass note):
Example song: "Sex Machine" by James Brown (played in Eb rather than E).
Example song: "Who's Gonna Take The Weight" by Kool & the Gang
Example song: "Flashlight" by Parliament
Update: A little love to the Am7 and Am9 chords as used in funk:
And the Em11:
As to why these chords became popular funk chords, the most simplistic answer is "Because the R&B musicians who went on to develop funk (James Brown, George Clinton, etc.) used these chords a lot, and for whatever reason, their songs sold lots of records, so the chords became identified with the 'funk' sound and other funk musicians copied them."
A less simplistic but more speculative answer would point out that these are all dominant chords, and that funk, like the blues, doesn't really adhere to the harmonic principles of Western diatonic music. From the diatonic perspective, dominant chords---the E7+9 chord, especially---don't make any sense when used as I and IV chords, as funk does all the time ("Flashlight", for example, is built entirely around a I-IV progression, with seventh chords used for both). The E7+9 is particularly out of place (again, from Western music theory's perspective) due to it's having both a major and a minor third in it.
But again, funk and blues aren't really based on Western music theory principles but instead on African rhythms and harmonies, filtered through Western instruments. In the purest 12-bar blues form from which funk evolved, all the chords are dominant 7th chords, and the scales are based around pentatonic plus blues notes---decidedly not the traditional Western major scale. So it's a bit of a mistake to try to analyze these genres of music from the perspective of Western music theory, since they don't really fit in that context.
etc... etc.. etc.. (google is your friend)
A basic funk chord is Em9 played on the top 4 strings. It is very easy to play(just barre across those strings), is movable, and sounds nice, easy to get the funky sound because you can mute the strings easy(just lift up your finger).
Funk is more about style then specific chords. It is syncopated with lots of ghost notes and "rakes". Some chords make it easier to do so and sound more hip than others but ultimately an chords could be used.