Funk

DJ Set at Brasserie Barbes

October 11, 2017

BBFLYER

Tres excited to be DJing this Thursday 12th October at Brasserie Barbes in Paris! Gonna be spinning lots of LL Cool J, Aurra, Bar-Kays, Big Daddy Kane, Heavy D, Beastie Boys, Shalamar, Michael Jackson, Brass Construction, Jody Watley, and so much more ..

Peep the Facebook event here : http://bit.ly/2kzRUld

Brasserie Barbes, 2 Boulevard Barbes, 75018 Paris

9pm – 1:45am.

Come boogie!

 

The After Dark Mixtape

August 20, 2017

 

I originally intended to drop this one in the run up to the Wax Poetics After Dark party at Le Pigalle in Paris, but, sometimes shit happens and sometimes flower pots fall on laptops and mixtapes get lost.

In my opinion it’s never too late for good music to circulate though, so, am excited to now present to you the After Dark mixtape : a taster of what you can expect to boogie to at a Wax Poetics party.

Enjoy!

Artwork by Leon Nockolds

Tracklist:

Blue Magic “See Through”

Andre Forget Me Not “After Midnight (B-Side Version)”

Brass Construction “Physical Attraction”

Lillo Thomas “Sexy Girl”

Stetsasonic “Speaking Of A Girl Named Suzy”

Bobby Nunn “She’s Just A Groupie”

Jimmy Spicer “The Bubble Bunch”

Busta Rhymes “Do the Bus a Bus”

Ultramagnetic MC’s “Give The Drummer Some”

Del The Funky Homosapien “Dr. Bombay”

George Clinton “Do Fries Go With That Shake”

Star Child : George Clinton Interview

May 28, 2016

 

Last month I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing the one and only George Clinton for Wax Poetics. When I first bought Funkadelic’s self-titled debut Funkadelic as a teenager, I never dreamed that one day I would get to chat to George himself about tour stories, life philosophies, and spirituality…

Peep the interview below and enjoy!

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GC

For a musician whose creativity orbits around its own funk-fuelled planet, spinning out infectious melodies and dreaming up the most liberated of ideas, George Clinton is remarkably down to earth.

Born in North Carolina and raised in New Jersey, Clinton founded the group the Parliaments in 1955, releasing their hit single “(I Wanna) Testify” in 1967. The group went on to evolve into the now iconic acts Funkadelic and Parliament in 1968 and 1970, respectively. The combined creative output from Parliament and Funkadelic in the ’70s is truly staggering, including platinum albums Mothership ConnectionOne Nation Under a Groove, and Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome, and hit singles such as “Flashlight” and “Aqua Boogie.” The list, of course, could go on and on (and on). It is no exaggeration to say that Clinton’s work has inspired countless other artists, and, he continues to record and collaborate to this day.

In conversation, the man behind the P-Funk juggernaut, arguably one of the most influential movements in music history, is at once open and brilliantly funny. He chuckles heartily and speaks candidly, sharing views and drawing from personal experiences. It was after a show at the New Parish in Oakland that I caught up with George to chat about the Bay Area, tour stories, perspectives and spirituality, and, of course, new music.

 

There are so many great funk and soul acts from the Bay Area. Which of those groups have inspired you? Do you have any favourite Bay Area groups?

Oh, you know who it is! [laughs] It’s gonna be Sly Stone.

Of course.

Without a doubt. There’s a lot of them from that area over the years, going back to Jefferson Airplane and all the way up to Too Short. But overall? Sly Stone.

Do you remember when you first heard his music?

Sixty-six or something like that. I knew him as a DJ before I knew he put a record out. He was a DJ right there in Oakland.

I didn’t know that.

Oh yeah. Sly Stone, that’s where he was first, as a DJ on KSOL on KDIA.

Did he play parties as well? Did you ever see him DJ?

Nah, I never saw him. But I used to listen to him on the radio, ’cause he talked so much shit! As a matter of fact, on my new album I have out right now I recorded Sly doing “The Nazz.” That was his theme song when he came on the radio.

It’s neat that you remember his theme song. It obviously still sticks out. You tour a lot, it seems like you’re almost constantly on tour.

I live on the road.

Do you have any favourite memories from being on tour or any tour stories? 

Oh lots. Lots from when we first got the Mothership and were going to different places like the Oakland Coliseum. That’s a good one right there! We actually did the live album there, it was called the P-Funk Earth Tour. I can remember getting there in the afternoon on the day of the show and watching them set up the spaceship and the big hat. And I fell asleep under the bleachers! [laughs] And when I woke up the show was on. The show was on. Scared the shit out me, I was goin’ be late!

Were you or did you make it?

Oh I made it. Got in the costume and was there just as my turn came on. [chuckles] Bootsy was on when I woke up.

They must have panicked wondering where you were.

Oh they were panicking. Nobody knew where I was at because I got there early afternoon. I just sat down by the bleachers and fell asleep!

That’s brilliant. And the audience would have had no clue. So I interviewed another Bay Area artist Shock G a couple years ago – 

Oh, that’s my boy.

Yeah. He talked a little about when you made Sons of the P and said that after he spent time working with you, he felt that his life got better in all regards and that you have a very positive influence on people. Do you have a life philosophy or outlook that you share with others?

Basically, do the best that you can and then funk it! [laughs] That’s basically my philosophy. You know, after you’ve done the best you can, that’s all you can do and that takes so much pressure off of you. You goin’ be alright most of the time like Kendrick Lamar says, “We goin’ be alright.” Whether you like it or not, you goin’ be alright! You can take a lot of the stress off of yourself by just knowing that for a fact that no matter what any moment might feel like at any given time, 99% of the time you going to be alright. And if you know that you don’t worry.

Shock G, oh man, he’s like that himself. He’s one of the few that makes sure the people are taken care of and is concerned that people are getting paid for their samples. Same with Ice Cube. A lot of people don’t know, they just make the record and they don’t know nothing about the business and business form. They don’t care about your relationships with other people, so they don’t care about paying the other people. But Shock G is one of those ones that the paperwork was clear right from the get go.

Bootsy, Cube, & GC

George Clinton, Shock G, and P-Funk's Gary "Mudbone" Cooper

He cares about musicians. Do you have any spiritual beliefs?

Well I believe in everything; I believe in all people’s beliefs. I understand all people’s points of views and the supreme being that all of them are relating to. I think it’s the same one that we just have a different way of saying or doing it or relating to it. Oh I know we ain’t the only ones in here! I know there’s something else controlling us, ain’t no doubt about that. What it is or who it is, I don’t know or care, you know, I appreciate it, that what we call god or whatever. He is appreciated, or she is appreciated – whatever you want to call it!

Yeah! Your music has influenced and inspired so many and such a range of artists, from funk musicians to hip-hop producers. When you were starting out at the beginning of your career, was building such a body of work something you dreamed of? Was that what you were going for?

Yeah, I mean, when I got started, Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy were my models and they were turning out shit so fast. That’s what I was trying to do. I was trying to get a crew of people to be like the Miracles with Smokey, like Mickey Stevenson, you know, all the teams. I really did love that concept. And we modelled P-Funk after that, you know with Bootsy and the Horny Horns. More or less. A body of work that goes on and on. And it’s still going on. We got a new record out with Kendrick Lamar and Ice Cube: “Aint That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You.” Matter of fact they did it at Coachella a couple of nights ago.

Were you there?

I was supposed to be, I was invited but I couldn’t make it, I had a show the very next day. I had no idea they wanted to do that, but I saw the show last night and realised they actually did the song and had the video on. Oh it blew my mind. Kendrick did “Alright,” and I had to call him and tell him, “You made me cry with that shit.”

Are you working on anything else at the moment?

Working on the new Parliament album, it’s called Medicated Frog Dogs.

 

Keep up to speed on the world of George Clinton here : www.georgeclinton.com

Originally posted on Wax Poetics here .

Brand Nubian One for All 25th Anniversary Mixtape

December 12, 2015

Last weekend saw the 25th anniversary of Brand Nubian’s debut album One for All. To mark the occasion, my homie Chris put together this sweet mix of album tracks and original sample material. There are some real gems from the likes of James Brown, Steve Arrington, Kool & the Gang, Earth, Wind & Fire, and of course Brand Nubian in this mixtape to get your funky juices flowing. Peep the feature on Wax Poetics here or read the write up below. Enjoy!

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On December 4th, 1990, Elektra Records put out Brand Nubian’s classic debut One for All. Upon the album’s release, the group garnered high levels of critical acclaim for the unique way in which their music twinned political consciousness with funky beats and playful bravado. To this day One for All still receives praise and is frequently cited in hip-hop texts and ‘top’ lists, all affirming the record’s landmark status.

To celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of One for All this month, our buddy Chris Read has crafted yet another dope mix of album tracks, alternate versions, remixes, and original sample material. Expect a heavy dose of James Brown, Steve Arrington, Edie & The New Bohemians, Ohio Players, The Last Poets, The Gap Band, and many others, blended into golden-era Brand Nubian. Enjoy!

Tracklist:

1. Ray, Goodman & Brown – ‘Another Day’ (Sampled in ‘Wake Up (Reprise in the Sunshine)’)
2. Chris Read – ‘Theme #3’ (Scratchapella)
3. Brand Nubian – ‘Wake Up (Reprise in the Sunshine)’
4. Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians – ‘What I Am’ (Sampled in ‘Slow Down’)
5. Kool & The Gang – ‘Kool It (Here Comes The Fuzz)’ (Loop) (Sampled in ‘Slow Down’)
6. Brand Nubian – ‘Slow Down’
7. Ohio Players – ‘Never Had A Dream’ (Loop) (Sampled in ‘Slow Down’)
8. The Nite Liters – ‘Tanga Boo Gonk’ (Sampled in ‘Wake Up (Stimulated Dummies Mix)
9. Brand Nubian – ‘Wake Up (Stimulated Dummies Mix)
10. The Mar Keys – ‘Plantation Inn’ (Sampled in ‘Step to the Rear’)
11. Big Daddy Kane – ‘Smooth Operator’ (Extract) (Sampled in ‘Step to the Rear’)
12. Brand Nubian – ‘Step to the Rear’
13. James Brown – ‘Funky President (People It’s Bad)’ (Sampled in ‘To the Right’)
14. Brand Nubian – ‘To the Right’
15. James Brown – ‘Can Mind’ (Sampled in ‘All for One’)
16. James Brown – ‘All for One’ (Extract) (Sampled in ‘All for One’)
17. Brand Nubian – ‘All for One’
18. Kool & The Gang – ‘Jungle Jazz’ (Sampled in ‘Drop the Bomb’)
19. Trouble Funk – ‘Drop the Bomb’ (Extract) (Interpolated in ‘Drop the Bomb’)
20. Public Enemy – ‘Anti-Nigger Machine’ (Extract) (Sampled in ‘Drop the Bomb’)
20. Brand Nubian – ‘Drop the Bomb’
21. James Brown – Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud (Sampled in ‘Dedication’)
22. Brand Nubian – ‘Dedication’
23. The Gap Band – ‘Tommy’s Groove’ (Sampled in ‘Ragtime’)
24. Brand Nubian – ‘Ragtime’
25. Steve Arrington – ‘Nobody Can Be You’ (Sampled in Grand Puba, Positive & LG)
26. Run-DMC – Here We Go (Live at the Funhouse) (Extract) (Sampled in Grand Puba, Positive & LG)
27. Brand Nubian feat Positive K and L.G – ‘Grand Puba, Positive & L.G’
28. Syl Johnson – Different Strokes (Loop) (Sampled in ‘Try to Do Me’)
29. Brand Nubian – ‘Try to Do Me’
30. Cameo – ‘Rigor Mortis’ (Sampled in ‘Brand Nubian’)
31. Brand Nubian – ‘Brand Nubian’
32. Parliament – ‘Flash Light’ (Extract) (Sampled in ‘Brand Nubian’)
33. Cannonball Adderley Quintet feat Jesse Jackson – ‘Walk Tall’ (Sampled in ‘Concerto in X Minor’)
34. Brand Nubian – ‘Concerto in X Minor’
35. The Last Poets – ‘When the Revolution Comes (Extract) (Sampled in ‘Concerto in X Minor’)
36. Earth, Wind & Fire – ‘Bad Tune’ (Sampled in ‘Dance to my Ministry’)
37. Trouble Funk – ‘Pump me Up’ (Extract) (Sampled in ‘Dance to my Ministry’)
37. Brand Nubian – ‘Dance to my Ministry’
38. James Brown – ‘Popcorn with a Feeling’ (Sampled in ‘Who Can Get Busy Like This Man’)
39. Brand Nubian – ‘Who Can Get Busy Like This Man’

George Clinton Interview

July 5, 2015

gc

I was recently listening to “(Not Just) Knee Deep” by Parliament, and was reminded of the sublime feeling that song can stir! I have loved the music of Parliament/Funkadelic for many years now, and I think it will always hold a special place in my heart. Going back into the P-Funk archives inspired me to pull out an interview I did with George Clinton in the summer of 2011. Enjoy!

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I first discovered George Clinton when listening to the Prince Paul-produced De La Soul album De La Soul is Dead. It was the opening vocal-sample on “Millie pulled a pistol on Santa” (promising some funky emotion-licking in return for sucking on a soul) that was enough to convert me over to The Funk.

The world of George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic is deliriously intense (in the best, most liberated, technicoloured possible way) and his contribution to the world of music through the P-Funk empire is undeniable – not only to funk styles, but to so much music since. Clinton is one of the most heavily sampled and borrowed-from musicians of all time; nearly every one of his songs can be traced in a hip-hop joint somewhere. Just listen to anything from the G-Funk era to hear an instance of his influence.

The P-Funk are also known for their legendary, epic live shows. Think roller-skating onstage, prosthetic noses, half-an-hour guitar solos and a whole lot of soul.

All the way from Houston, Texas, George was nice enough to catch up with a fan in London and chat about his music, inspirations and experiences…

One thing that really strikes me about your music is how it pulses with so much imagination. I’ve often wondered whether you always had a strong imagination growing up?

When I was growing up?

Yeah. Since you were a child maybe…?

Well, when I was growing up, there were singers like Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers that made me want to be a singer. I started following them in grade school, in 1956. I’d always love to be those singers. And then, ten years later, we got a first hit record in 1966.

So would you say it was then that your creativity took off? Once you were a teenager?

Yes. We did “I Just Wanna Testify” in 1966. We put out the first record in ’57, and we didn’t get a hit until like ’66. That was the beginning. We came to London in ’68, and we had that hit record out. And then we had Parliament, and Funkadelic. And then ten years after that, ’76, we came off The Mothership Connection, which was the biggest, you know – The P-Funk – which is still going on now. They had a space-ship, and we came over there in ’78. And it’s still Funk in every sense.

I find your artwork and your music so complementary of one another.

I mean, all the Funkadelic, then we had Bootsy, the Horny Horns, and all the other names that we had with the group. We have all the bases covered, because they all complement each other.

I was wondering about how you feel your relationship with music has developed. The Funk – does it still mean the same thing to you today than it did say forty years ago?

Oh yes. Well, The Funk still is the way it should be, and it always evolves. Whenever I hear that – that beat – that is the new Funk. Hip-Hop is Funk. Hip-Hop – Funk is just being that. Or Techno, or any dance music – Funk is the DNA in it and that’s what makes it survive. So yeah, I’m still into Funk music. Whenever I hear somebody say “No, don’t do that in music,” to me, that’s the music to do.

So much of your music has influenced so many musicians afterwards – do you have a particular favourite song that samples or is obviously inspired by your music?

Oh, there’s quite a few of them that I’ve liked the samples. I like Public Enemy’s music and use of samples, a lot – an awful lot. And I also like Digital Underground. There’s so many clever ways and real good producers that can just make brand new music from samples. But I liked it right from the get-go – EPMD, Rakim and all of the Bronx music, and then out of the West coast – NWA, Dre and all them, I like their music too.

Yeah, same. I’ve been following your FunkProbosci blog – (Sadly, whilst Clinton is one of the most respected and influential figures of the music scene, he is currently involved in an on-going battle about the royalties of those celebrated samples – check out the full story here - it seems like it’s been such a struggle for you with the royalties case.

Well, we’re getting ready to go to court now for a lot of that royalty stuff. The record companies, the BMI, publishing companies – they’ve been stealing the money from all the writers. So, FunkProbosci, that’s what we’re talking about over there. All of that is getting ready to come out into the courts. We just came in The Mothership to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC, the museum, and we’re doing a big thing at the British Museum.

Yeah, I saw that you’re doing the ‘Space Children’ talk – I was actually wondering if there were any particular works of Science Fiction you would cite as favourites?

Well, you know, like Star Trek and all Space-life. I mean, The Mothership has always been there in my heart, you know cos I’m not from this planet – I’m from the Dark Star. Life is serious. But I’m glad to be a part of the British show over there, because it shines light on how important the music is throughout the world.

Yeah. I’m going to come to the London show in June… Would you say that London’s a Funky place?

Oh yeah. Always. London has always been a good place for The Funk because in the sixties when we came and did “Testify,” and it was more Motown, but London was going all funky. A partner of mine in 1959 named Jimmy Miller, who was producing The Rolling Stones, Spooky Tooth, Traffic, Steve Winward – he was producing all those songs and those groups – and he was Funky as all hell. He was my partner in ’59/’60. And then they have Northern Soul out of Birmingham and Manchester. I have a big stake in that as a lot of songs I did in ’62 and ’63 are really popping up there in Northern Soul. So I enjoy being over there a lot.

What can London expect from the show when you play later this month?

(pause) A whole lot a rump-shakin’!

(laughs) Amazing.

The new music we got is called ‘I Got That Doo-Doo’ – ‘Got that Doo-Doo’, that’s the slogan.

I’ll be sure to remember that one… And I was wondering – firstly, whether you remember your dreams often? And if so, whether you could tell us about a funky dream if you’d had one?

Dreams? Ooohhhh, shoot. Well, I was dreaming that we had the entire planet inside a Mothership shell, and that the Mothership came back with a second landing on the planet Earth. And we’re getting ready to realise that one – I think that that was not a dream; I think it’s a…déjà vu. It’s on its way in now – The Mothership. So, we’ll see the dream come true.

 

First published on SomeThinkBlue in 2011.

Wax Poetics Issue 61 : Bishop Nehru & Soulection

April 25, 2015

I remember the first time that I bought a copy of Wax Poetics back in 2007. It was the Rick James issue with a feature on New York hip-hop club The Latin Quarter by Brian Coleman. Reading it blew my mind and provided glimpses into a world that inspired me to no end.

Issue 23

I never thought then that I would one day get to write for the magazine, so it is such a thrill to see my first cover feature for Issue 61. I interviewed young rapper Bishop Nehru back in January, after having first seen him play at Birthdays in Dalston last year. Having already released an album with MF Doom and now working with Nas, Nehru’s career is seriously set to skyrocket.

Bishy

The feature runs back to back with a Ghostface Killah interview written by my Bay Area homie David Ma in what I feel is a very strong issue of the magazine. The alternate cover has James Brown and Curtis Mayfield back to back, two true musical icons with such musical depth and mass appeal. The overall theme for the issue is in highlighting the Black Lives Matter message in music, and examining the prominence of racial politics in music today as oppose to previous decades.

As well as the Nehru piece, I also have a feature in the issue on the Soulection collective: a record rundown with Joe Kay detailing the key records that have shaped the Soulection’s journey thus far. Joe’s selection are great and brilliantly varied – Slum Village, Arthur Verocai, Genuwine, and Rage Against the Machine all make an appearance.

Again, I am super excited about this issue. Big shout out to : Brian DiGenti, Freddy Anzures, Andre Torres, Bishop Nehru, Joe Kay, Jacqueline Schneider, David Ma, Robert Adam Mayer, and Eric Coleman!

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