As the boogie-down ambassador of cosmic slop and knee-deep funk, 70-year-old George Clinton has been waving his freak flag since the daze of acid flashbacks. A roaring Leo born on July 22, Clinton has been freeing our minds since dropping “(I Wanna) Testify” in 1967.
While that introductory track showed the influence of Motown's rhythm nation, once the former barber and conk creator from Plainfield, New Jersey began dropping acid, the visual sounds in his head bubbled to surface. He soon changed the music game by taking funk music to the extreme and spearheading the bugged collective known as Parliament-Funkadelic.
Although big poppa James Brown was the first to introduce the world to “the one,” JB was always more earthbound while George Clinton and his crew of musical misfits went soaring through space in their Mothership, taking Black music to the outer limits of rock and soul.
Connecting with a diverse audience that flocked to each release as though was it was funky revival, Parliament-Funkadelic's mob of rotating musicians—including guitarist Eddie Hazel, bassist Bootsy Collins and keyboardist Bernie Worrell—inspired a generation of recording artists, writers, painters, and thieves.
"Clinton is an artist, innovator and a pioneer," producer Hank Shocklee once said. "Funk is in the DEA of hip-hop and Clinton is the backbone." Although boom-box kids like Shocklee's Bomb Squad, Dr. Dre, and Prince Paul have heavily sampled P-Funk classics like “Flash Light” and “Atomic Dog,” Clinton says that he has been bamboozled by a few shady industry folks and as a result receives no royalties for many records built on his work. “I’m suing everybody right now including Bridgeport Music and Universal Records,” he says from his home in Tallahassee, Florida.
But all the drama hasn't stopped him from doing his thing. Fresh off a collaboration with rapper/producer Aleon Craft, Clinton is currently working on a new solo project featuring gospel singer Kim Burrell, RZA, El DeBarge, and Sly Stone. The rainbow-haired grandpa was sharp as a stiletto when Complex spoke to him about his game-changing tracks.
Written by Michael A. Gonzales (@gonzomike)