George Clinton Explains Saving Hip Hop Artists On Samples, Recalls Early Days Of Dr. Dre, Afrika Bambaataa, Eminem

Exclusive: The Parliament Funkadelic legend recalls urging Big Boi to do "For Your Sorrows" live, and serving as a witness on a Public Enemy lawsuit with Bridgeport Music that saved the group millions.

Founder of the Parliament Funkadelic movement, George Clinton and his music have been essential ingredients to the Hip Hop sound for over 30 years. Credited for work alongside the likes of Dr. Dre, Big Boi and Ice Cube, Clinton's catalog has also been prominently sampled on hits across the Hip Hop landscape. As a result, Clinton is currently in the midst of an extensive legal battle against several record labels - including Universal Records, Bridgeport Music, Capitol Records, BMI Publishing - over excessive copyright fees. Although his music has been sampled repeatedly throughout Hip Hop history, he is fighting in hopes of reducing the cost to clear a sample. “It don’t have to be that expensive,” Clinton said in a recent exclusive interview with HipHopDX in promotion of his collaborative project with Aleon Craft, Mothership: The Decatur Connection. “It can be very cheaply done and they’re going to make it so it can be done real cheap with no lawsuits.”

The Funk pioneer has worked with artists from all genres and insists that allowing his music to be sampled has been instrumental in keeping his career alive. “We forged ourselves an alliance with the [Dr.] Dres and Snoop [Dogg] and [Ice Cube] and all of them,” said the “Mixmaster Suite”-singer.

“Snoop’s last three records, I’m on them. He wanted to sample. I told him to do it live. Big Boi’s last record, “For Your Sorrows” [off of Sir Lucious Left Foot The Son Of Chico Dusty], I did it live. I knew them before they were a group. Outkast, Organized Noize - they didn’t even have a name yet. They was all one big group. Busta Rhymes, he was still with Leaders Of The New School. I watched them all take off. They all got their breaks and now they’re all like, “Uncle George, Uncle George.”     

Clinton has been a professional musician for over 55 years - first as a Doo Wop singer on Motown Records before forming the group Parliament Funkadelic. In 1982, he released his solo album, Computer Games, which produced the mega-hit, “Atomic Dog.” The P-Funk Allstar’s music provided the foundation for Dr. Dre’s G-Funk Era that dominated the sound of West Coast Hip Hop during the 1990s. “I knew Dr. Dre when he was a teenager hanging out in a teenage club and there wasn’t no N.W.A. or nobody,” said Clinton.

He continued: “I knew all of them when Hip Hop was just getting started, when there wasn’t no records being put out or nothing. Afrika Bambaataa. If you look at the [Uncle Jam Wants You] record, the one we put out with “(Not just) Knee Deep” on it, our fan club is on there. Afrika Bambaataa is the first name on the record. He couldn’t have been nothing but 14-years-old. This is 1978. Hip-Hop was just getting started. Humpty [Hump] and them when they was a band, before Digital Underground. All of them. Eminem’s producer, Mark Bass, was in a group called DreamBoy. Me and him produced my son’s record before he did Eminem. Eminem was basically about 14-years-old back in Detroit. Pretty much that whole era at the beginning of Hip Hop, I was right there watching them.”

Clinton also states that he shared a close relationship with Public Enemy and played a role in the dismissal of a copyright lawsuit against them. “Bridgeport [Music] tried to sue them,” he says. “They were on MTV and a lady on MTV was talking about she was working for me and she was suing them for $3 million. They were already having trouble with the industry. I said, “Call me as a witness.” And when they did, [Bridgeport] dropped the charges.”  

Mothership: The Decatur Connection is currently available for download.

Purchase Music by Parliament, Funkadelic and George Clinton.

RELATED: George Clinton & Aleon Craft Talk "Mothership: The Decatur Connection," Parliament Funkadelic's Encouragement Of Sampling

33 Comments

  • Anonymous

    I guess we should thank him.

  • dentaldamboy

    Jay-Z has way too many dickriders. Jay-Z been a disloyal bitch for years and yet too many fags still talk about him like he's Biggie or Pac. Biggie and Pac were real dudes...they were loyal to the people who they came up with. Jay the exact opposite. He shit on everybody who helped him get to the top except Memphis he dude probably suck Jay-Zs dick when Beyonce is on tour. I swear, people who like Jay-Z worship him as if he was a god. There is nothing that he can do wrong in the eyes of his fans. Even when he makes shitty pop music like Young Forever people talk about him as if he makes only meaningful songs like Nas. Jay-Z definitely has he gayest fan base of all. I bet any one of Jay-Zs fans would agree to swallow his cock and fondle his balls on request. Everyone knows he's gonna be exposed as a fraud one day. And when he is, I hope all of his fucking bitch ass fans hang themselves.

  • insanemacbeth

    G.C. is a DON of music. full stop!

  • YADIG

    SHOUTOUT TO SO ICE BOI! KEEPIN IT 100 ON U SUCKA ASS NIGGAS! YMCMB IS THE BEST FUCK THE REST 5 LETTERS: YMCMB

  • Memphis Mephistopheles

    New Canibus: "Harry Fox Hates Hip-hop" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UksmmRVoBs&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PLA17BD1513816C153 How long till hiphopdx deletes this post again, like they did the other 4 I made? 2 days? 3 days? Maybe they'll do it tonight. Don't matter, I'll keep posting this until hiphopdx shuts down.

  • Anonymous

    smh. young ass niggas don't know shit about George Clinton or real hip hop. all they know is dick riding YMCMB

    • Anonymous

      Someone should locate your home address and Bust your faggot YMCB ass in tha mouth

    • I Speak The Truth

      1 small problem with your little "YMCMB IS THE FUTURE OF HIP HOP" bullshit rant, the owner of YMCMB (Birdman) is basically an old fuck, Lil Wayne & Nicki Minaj is pushing 30, Drake isn't really making hip hop, Tyga hasn't made it big yet, the rest are weed carriers. So, no they are not the future. But who knows, if you keep trolling, maybe just maybe someone might believe you...not!

    • YADIG

      SHUT YO FAGGOT ASS UP AND QUIT LIVIN IN THE PAST! YMCMB IS THE FUTURE NIGGA! 5 LETTERS: YMCMB

  • Anonymous

    Every bullshit YMCMB post on this website is made by only one troll, I swear, but I bet they're secret fans of Wayne and shit too yet don't want to admit it. This article's comments just gave it away and proved it because George Clinton has nothing to do with any YM lollipop rap shit. Fuck outta here. They're not even different leagues, they're different sports, and all these kids who (supposedly) love hip-hop music or culture should restrain themselves to respect the man even a little bit without this troll shit. It's getting old. The man is a legend who was actually there, watched the legends of our time since they were kids, but more importantly he's going out of his way to make sure samples stay about the music than about lawyers and labels wrapping their tentacles around whatever they can to suck the life out of anything that even smells like money. Anyone else would go out of their way to make more money off people sampling their old music, George Clinton is doing the opposite so people can have the artistic and musical freedom to sample things and build on it. That's a good man that cares about music more than money. Give the man respect for that, I'm sure he's not super-wealthy but he doesn't need to be.

  • Fern P

    Without George Clinton there wouldnt even be no rap. Half the drum sounds whether you realize it or not come from him. Just tiny half a second sounds you wouldnt even know. how you gonna say YMCMB and fuck this grandpa. YMCMB use his shit too. Eat A DICK

  • So Icy Boi!

    lol. yall niggas are sensitive. get a life pussies! I dont know who dis grandpa is. he produced Elvis debut album? lmao swag YMCMB WE DA BEST! swag

  • dentaldamboy

    George Clinton fucking sucks. YMCMB are lightyears ahead of this wierdo. Lil Wayne and Drake put this man to shame. Looking like he got homeless fruity swag. Wack ass nigga. Fuck Ice Cube and Dr Dre too. They never helped the YMCMB dynasty. We dont need ya'll. We got beatsmiths galore way more talented for 1/4 of the price. Fuck Interscope/Aftermath. YMCMB UNIVERSAL WE THE BEST FUCK THE REST. We are the top dogs of the industry. We're even reaching out to save legends we used to listen to as kids from homelessness. YMCMB TIL THE DEATH OF ME

  • DA

    It's like reading history. It's crazy how this guy literally talks about Hip hop like it's his own son. Let's not lie to ourselves, George Clinton IS the Father of Hip-Hop. You can say James Brown all you want, but James Brown didn't want artists sampling his music!!!! Even George admitted that. Let's give credit where it's due.

  • Fuck So Icy Boi!

    What's with all this spam, shit! Anyway dude is a legend. He got sampled in legendary hip hop projects from artists like EPMD to J Dilla (besides dr dre hhdx!) Unlike alot of the older musicians he genuinely cares about the progress of hip hop and appreciates the art of sampling.

  • anonymous

    Here's the one wher Araab Muzik casually destroys an Mpc.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHzz_sR43qU Wow, just fucking wow.

  • So Icy Boi!

    who? who da fuck is dis old ass nigguh? Dr Dres boyfriend? Eminems grandpa? lmao whoooooo????? swag

    • JodeG

      Now go get yourself a handgun, you fuckin with a great Put it your mouth and squeeze it like your morning toothpaste Kill yo'self

    • DA

      You know whats funny? ya mammy!!!

    • slumpalot

      I hope you are kidding? If not, you are a damn idiot and an insult to your generation. I would be ashamed to be around someone that question's who George Clinton is and add's swag at the end of any sentence. You deserve to be back handed right in the mouth for that one.

    • Sigh...

      You bore me, not to mention you must be one sad bastard. That is all.

  • G-Bee

    Nice to hear from George Clinton again! But damn, it's a shame everytime you read about G-Funk the only one mentioned is Dre. DX even takes it further by calling it "Dr. Dre's G-Funk Era". Come on now, G-Funk Era is all Warren G!

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