P-FUNK / “P-Funk WeFunk Mixtape”
“If you ain’t gonna get it on, take your dead ass home!” One of the numerous secret ingredients of P-Funk was an intentional subversive edge: conceptually, sonically, and semantically. They often cursed just for the funk of it, knowing that gleeful invectives separated P-Funk from those who were looking for cross-over success. The sound was grimy, unclean, full of counter-voicings: spontaneous outbursts pushed into the foreground of the mix; smooth voices colliding with rough-hewn hollers and drug-induced giggles, although they were serious they didn’t take themselves too seriously. Their matrix was the creativity that emerged from chaos. Happenstance kissing intentionality was their credo. One could contemplate a lyric for hours only to realize they were just funking around. This was music inspired by a trickster muse. Instead of seeking the purity of an unadulterated sound, they reveled in the neo-African aesthetic, i.e. embrace life in the full funkiness of creation, a fullness that included up, down, all around, and all in between, meaning everything-at-the-same-time rather than one-at-a-time-thing-ism. This was readily apparent in the montage of the spectacles that were their concerts. (Which one is George Clinton?) Make no mistake, they intended to be stimulus overload. After experiencing them, you left with a shitload of ideas you never knew you had. Who knows what’s inside the unopened doors of your mind? P-Funk was exploratory sonic surgery. The downside of a freaky approach to business was that the centre not only could not hold, shit didn’t just fall apart, the whole thing imploded. Ironically, P-Funk ate itself. George not only lost control, he lost ownership possession of the music. Clinton did not mind his wants and paid the cost when he found out that a bunch of suits wanted more than his mind. As advanced capitalism always does, their ultimate tactic was the co-opting of everything including the fruits of anti-capitalist production. The lesson is simple: it’s ok to funk around but don’t neglect to take care of business. Admittedly, minding the bottom line is an admonition that is difficult to follow when you’re having fun, but if we don’t, we’ll find ourselves fleeced by the money-lovers who never sleep. At one point Clinton looked like he had the upper hand on the industry with multiple-contracts and worldwide tour opportunities. Everybody wanted to taste the funk. And, indeed, although P-Funk produced enough funk to keep the world dancing for decades, we still have to deal with the devil in the details of legalities and deals done with unscrupulous demons who can’t dance but whose technical footwork will kick your ass. (If you don’t understand what I’m alluding to, go Google George Clinton and publishing, but be prepared to witness some discouragingly ugly shit including George’s shortcomings, addictions, and gross missteps.) Fortunately, the gift of funk offers far more than anyone can take from it. This Mixtape is three hours of funk; three hours but still only a dip in the P-Funk ocean of sounds. This Mixtape is not a full retrospective, or even a complete catalogue of hits. Instead this is a selection of studio recordings designed to temporarily satisfy our life-long cravings to get down on the one (yes, I know, some of us don’t even know we have funky urges; doesn’t matter, our bodies feel things that our minds have yet to perceive). Funk first of all appeals to the feelings. You ain’t got to fully understand rhythm in order to dance. If your heart is beating, you are inclined to respond to funky rhythms. So enjoy this potent dose of P-Funk medicinal musings. A word to the wise and those who want to know more, here’s what’s missing: 1. A healthy selection of pre-Chocolate City jams when it was mostly Funkadelic at their freakiest. 2. Almost all the songs directly associated with the mothership connection—we covered a lot of them last week with the live selections. 3. Everything after “Atomic Dog” including remixes, solo George Clinton, and post-nineties P-Funk. (I guess you can tell there is probably another P-Funk Mixtape to come.) BTW, a word about nomenclature: P-Funk, which originally referred to a combination of Parliament and Funkadelic, is short-hand for the conglomeration of artists and styles that brought the funk. Parliament refers to the R&B, vocal side of the funk and Funkadelic is an emphasis on the rock, instrumental side, except there is a lot of seepage and cross-fertilization so that you can’t aesthetically separate these two elements because they are both integral and entwined to the concept of getting down on the one. In a similar manner, like life, this music is both silly and serious at the same time—so funk it! Go ahead and enjoy yourself but don’t injure yourself. Peace, Love, & Have a funky good time. —Kalamu ya Salaam P-Funk WeFunk Mixtape Playlist Mothership Connection 01 “P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)” Finest Funkadelic 02 “I Got a Thing, You Got a Thing, Everybody Got A Thing” Standing on the Verge of Getting It On 03 “Standing on the Verge of Getting It On” Finest Funkadelic 04 “Red Hot Mama” Cosmic Slop 05 “Cosmic Slop” Hardcore Jollies 06 “You Scared the Lovin' Outta Me” 07 “Comin' Round the Mountain” 08 “Soul Mate” 09 “Adolescent Funk” Maggot Brain 10 “Maggot Brain” One Nation Under A Groove 11 “Cholly (Funk Get Ready To Roll!)” 12 “Into You” 13 “Promentalshitbackwashpsychosis Enema Squad (The Doodoo Chasers)” Finest Funkadelic 14 “Let's Take It to the Stage” Tales Of Kidd Funkadelic 15 “Take Your Dead Ass Home! (Say Something Nasty)” The Electric Spanking of War Babies 16 “Funk Gets Stronger (Killer Millimeter Long)” One Nation Under A Groove 17 “One Nation Under A Groove” Chocolate City 18 “Chocolate City” The Electric Spanking of War Babies 19 “She Loves You” Funked Up: The Very Best of the Parliament 20 “Fantasy Is Reality” 21 “Agony Of Defeet” Motor Booty Affair 22 “Mr. Wiggles” 23 “Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop)” Uncle Jam Wants You 24 “Uncle Jam” 25 “Holly Wants To Go To California” 26 “(Not Just) Knee Deep” Funkentelechy Vs. the Placebo Syndrome 27 “Placebo Syndrome” 28 “Funkentelechy” 29 “Flash Light”
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