The Funkiest Monks: RHCP’s ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik’ 25 years later


The Red Hot Chili Pepppers peform during the Stadium Arcadium World Tour featuring its long-time lineup: Flea, Kiedis, Smith, Frusciante, in 2006 (xPassenger/Flickr Creative Commons)

From monster hits like “Can’t Stop,” “By The Way,” and “Californication,” to personal favorites like “Dosed” and “Tear,” The Red Hot Chili Peppers have blessed the late 90s and early 21st century with some of the best and creative tunes of recent history. But who is to say if those songs would have made it to my ears if it weren’t for their breakout album, “Blood Sugar Sex Magik,” in 1991.

An album that followed a somewhat creatively restricted performance on “Mothers Milk,” “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” unleashed the Pepper’s signature funk-punk with an openly artistic connotation. This previously unheard sound, thanks to young gun guitarist John Frusciante, helped shape the unconventionally harmonic sound I have come to love from RHCP. Frusciante, who withdrew from the band until 1998 due to the overwhelming success of “Blood Sugar Sex Magik,” brought a supple sound to match the band’s rugged head-bang inducing rhythms. “Under The Bridge,” one of five singles off the album, and arguably the band’s most famous song to date. It exemplifies how Frusciante’s silky riffs paired with Flea and Chad Smith’s rhythmic tightness, along with the Peppers’ new found sensitivity, put the band on the international map.

The album has considerable contrast, yet it possesses a remarkable flow, one that led me to question, in some instances, when a song would stop and another started. The third track on the album, “Breaking The Girl,” shows the band’s versatility not only rhythmically, but melodically. It shows a very different Anthony Kiedis, the lead singer, than what’s heard in other big tracks like “Sir Psycho Sexy.” It begins the genre bending ride this album takes you on, giving you just enough meaty funk and sexual innuendo to juxtapose tracks like “I Could Have Lied,” that demonstrates a distinct disparity from most of the rest of the album.

The structure of the album portrays what I see as a true picture of the Red Hot Chili Peppers: a rad group of guys who have mastered their craft and sound, whose success is a result of not only their musical gift, but the hardships they have faced. Hardships that I say the world has benefitted immensely from, thanks to their sound that is impossible to imitate, let alone replicate. Thank you for the funk, brought by no other.

Kevin Bostiga is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at

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