Six times George Clinton inspired hip hop gold

Parliament and Funkadelic samples have been the cornerstone of hip hop since the1980s, so we jumped aboard the mothership to see which George Clinton classics have helped generate some of our favourite tracks from the 1980s to the present day.

Henry Lewis

Last updated: 22nd Feb 2018.
Originally published: 15th Feb 2018

Image: Rolling Stone (credit)

Since the 1960s, the godfather of funk George Clinton has steered a mothership of infectious rhythms and gloriously groovy basslines as leader of not one, but two outfits fit to the roof off any mothersucker.

With Funkadelic, Clinton fused the sort of searing psych rock channelled by Jimi Hendrix with fierce, driving soul music produced by the likes of Sly and The Family Stone, resulting in a vast collection of albums resulting in varying experiences.

1971 seminal record Maggot Brain for example is a psychedelic hard rocking, heavy funking masterpiece, with an exquisite title track that is so prog rock it doesn't particularly seem like it came from a band who also produced the likes of 'One Nation Under a Groove' or 'Not Just Knee Deep'.

Parliament on the other hand, is just straight up groove from start to finish and via that group, clinton successfully hit the charts with the million-selling 1975 single 'Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)' - with the album that it appeared on, Mothership Connection arguably Parliament's magnum opus.

Clinton's legacy is split in two almost; on one hand he's one of the most innovative funk fathers of all time,as well as also being one of the most sampled artists in history with a raft of hip hop producers using Clinton's work as the basis of their own. For example, a visit to whosampled.com will show you that simply sublime 'Not Just Knee Deep' has been sampled a mighty 164 times since its release almost forty years ago. 

We've compiled by no means an exhaustive list, but just a small taster of some of our favourite tracks that have sampled Clinton's work, as we look forward to welcoming the great the man himself as Parliament and Funkadelic hit the UK for a run of live dates this summer.

Click the through the video playlists to hear the hip hop banger, and the Clinton tracks they have sampled. 

1. 'Me, Myself and I' - De La Soul, 1989

As previously discussed, there are quite a number of songs that have lent stylistic elements from Not Just Knee Deep, be it that iconic opening bash of the drums, the squeaking synths or those soaring 'whoah woah woahs' - and this one pretty much had them all. It was De La Soul's only number one on the U.S. R&B chart and payed homage to Clinton right from the off, one of the earliest occasions that this happened.

Appearing on the Long Island trio's debut studio album, 3 Feet High and Rising the track has undoutbtedly gone on to be recognised as a landmark track in hip hop and kicked off an entire wave of Clinton enthusiast producers. 

2. 'Who Am I? (What's My Name?)' - Snoop Doggy Dogg, 1993

Certainty not the only time a Dr Dre produced track appears in this list but perhaps most famously of all, Snoop Doggy Dogg's solo debut single is a true heavyweight and the pinnacle of the G Funk era.

Sampling the work of George Clinton not once, or twice but four separate times, Dr Dre is without doubt one of the funk Godfather's greatest beneficiaries, and on this track uses Clinton's 'Atomic Dog' to create an unforgettable chorus, Give UP The Funk (tear The Roof off the sucker) for THAT 'da 'da daa da' bridge, Not Just Knee Deep's bouncing bass, oh and P. Funk Wants to Get Funked Up's' delicious "the bomb"; and what a result.

3. Regulate - Warren G. & Nate Dogg, 1994

Released barely a month after 'What's My Name', the lead single to come from Basketball movie soundtrack Above The Rim lodged Warren G. and Nate Dogg into hip hop folklore with a breakthrough single that saw them hit number two on the Billboard Hot One Hundred. 

Another Death Row classic, the collaboration between Dre's stepbrother Warren G and Snoop's Cousin Nate Dogg tells a tale of the streets with dice, death and dames at its focal point before giving 'a small introduction to the g funk era..."where rhythm is life and life is rhythm." But where does Clinton come into it? Easy. One of the group of girls in the song who crash their car sees Nate and asks "would you let me ride?" - borrowing from (Mothership Connection) Star Child, just like Dre's 1993 banger 'Let Me Ride'.

4. Back & Forth - Aaliyah, 1994

Written and produced by R. Kelly, Aaliyah's debut single is an unforgettable r'n'b jam made for partying. The mid 90s smash kicked off a career for the taletned Brooklyner who sadly passed away aged just 22 in 2001. Her legacy as a musician lives on trhough massive singles such as Try Again, Rock The Boat and this one. 

As well as this song, R Kelly was behind the lyrics and production of the whole of Aaliyah's first record Age Ain't Nothing but a Number and borrows from Parliament's infectiously funky 1978 track Flashlight - pay attention to the woozy vocal at two minutes 18 seconds and you'll find a touch of Clinton magic. 

5. Peaches N Cream - Snoop Dogg, 2015

In the latter half of Snoop's illustrious career in rap music , his finest work has normally come when Pharrell has been involved, and this is no different. 2015's Bush was arguably The D O double G's best album since the Neptunes infused R&G (Rhythmn & Gangsta): The Masterpiece - and with Pharrell and Chad Hugo on productions duties for the entire record, it was a stellar effort. 

The first single off it, 'Peaches n Cream', saw Snoop once again collaborate with The Gap Band's legendary vocalist Charlie Wilson, as he had done previously on 'Signs' and 'Beautiful' among others. Over a bassy, bouncing mid tempo, Uncle Charlie's vocal hook of "freak don't fail me now" dips into Funkadelic's call to action 'One Nation Under a Groove' to excellent effect - marking a return to form for Snoop on his 13th studio release. 

6. "Untitled 08 | 09.06.2014." - Kendrick Lamar, 2016

Before appearing on the jazzy, Thundercat influenced closer on Kendrick Lamar's out-of-the-blue Untitled Unmastered the rap 'Two tears in the bucket, I cry with you, But I could never lie with you' rap on this track had already been heard on a remix of Funkadelic's 2014 track 'Ain't That Funkin Kinda Hard On You', and then was then performed live in its newest form by Kendrick in 2016 on Fallon's Tonight Show.

'Blue Faces' as its also known, was part of an eight song collection of tracks intended for To Pimp A Butterfly (an album which Clinton appeared on), but missed out down to sample clearances and deadlines. Like To Pimp, it is built on avant garde free jazz samples and had a release allegedly aided by NBA player LeBron James's public request to TDE head Anthony Tiffith that Lamar's untitled work should come out.

You can find George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic tickets for the available dates below.

Nottingham - Rock City, Friday 6th July

Type of Ticket Price QuantityQty
Advance Discount Ticket £35.75
(£32.50 + bf)

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Manchester - Academy, Saturday 7th July

Type of Ticket Price QuantityQty
General Admission Standing £35.75
(£32.50 + bf)

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London - Roundhouse, Sunday 8th July

Type of Ticket Price QuantityQty
Advance Discount Ticket £41.25
(£37.50 + bf)

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