2010s P-Funk albums

Let’s talk about the 2010s albums - specifically the two that were released under the names Parliament and Funkadelic. I’m going to start with 2014’s First Ya Gotta Shake the Gate.

The reviews online are typically very poor. Yet, there are also hardcore funkateers who seem to eat up everything George and the mob release. I’m more in the middle - as a completist and as someone who wanted to really absorb everything that has been released, there was no way I wasn’t going to buy this. And it was jarring at first, but at the same time, I feel that there’s enough there to warrant further listening.

Typically when I acquire a new album, it goes into “rotation” with other recent purchases and I just keep listening to it until I feel I’ve gotten everything out of it that I can. Everything gets at least three. Some albums in the p-funk lexicon have dropped off after 4, 5, 6 listens, but for the most part I am 9 listens in, with no signs of stopping yet. Including First Ya Gotta Shake the Gate.

So, I like it, and it interests me, but I do have problems with it.

For starters, it appears that George is really continuing the process of transitioning the names Parliament and Funkadelic away from himself and onto other members. I took a look at the somewriting credits and added up all the work that was done on this album - anything that had one writer, that writer was given 100% of the credit. With two writers, it was split 70/30. Three writers split 50/30/20. Four writers 40/30/20/10. I concluded that George was responsible for about 40% of the writing on this album. That’s very low for something with the name Funkadelic on it, isn’t it? It may be more appropriate to call this a PFAS album than a Funkadelic album (a criticism I had seen online prior to even hearing this album).

The other concern I have with it is that it’s so disjointed. It doesn’t seem to have a really coherent flow. It feels like a bunch of random tracks thrown together. Let me start this part by saying that, a) I like hip-hop a lot, b) I completely realize that hip-hop is the natural direction for p-funk to take and that it did indeed start showing signs of heading that way even by Trombipulation. So it shouldn’t surprise me, or turn me off, that this album is so hip-hop oriented. Yet, sometimes it still does. Tracks like I Mo B Your Dog 4 Eva, Homicide, Meow Meow, and Nuclear Dog Part 2, just bear no resemblance to P-funk at all to me, and just feel like straight up hip-hop tacked onto what should be a more guitar-based funk album.

Nothing can be described in black-and-white terms, and there are many elements of many styles in many songs, but it almost seems like this album is a combination of three distinct styles: 1) 90s P-funk in the Dope Dogs vein, 2) programmed, often overtly sexual hip-hop, 3) smooth R&B with a soulful, gravely vocalist. There are three very full CDs worth of material in these 34 songs (34 includes both Homicide and Yesterdejavu), and if you simply reorganized them into three separate albums you would have potentially three winning formulas that don’t get in eachothers’ way:

  1. First Ya Gotta Shake the Gate by Funkadelic

Ain’t that kinda funkin hard on you 5:07
Baby Like funkin’ It Up 9:35
Bernadette 5:08
Boom There We Go Again 2:55
Catchin’ Boogie Fever 5:56
Creases 3:10
First Ya Gotta 9:05
Jolene 7:51
Old Fool 3:32
Pole Power 7:00
Radio Friendly 6:16
Talking To The Wall 4:43
Yesterdejaavu 7:56

approximately 79 minutes total, fitting on one CD. Critics would call it an excellent return by Funkadelic, and a great expansion to what was started on Dope Dog.

  1. George Clinton - (insert title here, perhaps a reference to R&B skeletons).

As In 6:48
Dipety Dipety Do Stop the Violence 5:16
If I Didn’t Love You 4:00
Mathematics Of Love 12:08
Where Would I Go 4:26
You Can’t Unring the Bell 3:00
The Wall 9:08
The Naz 5:37
Roller Rink 11:34

Approximately 62 minutes in total. Critics would say it’s very reminiscent of 2009’s Gangsters of Love, and gets a little more adventurous and interesting times, but also drags on unnecessarily at times. His gravelly, soulful voice would be praised as a great reinvention of himself as a singer.

  1. P-Funk all Stars - (insert title here) - produced by George Clinton

Dirty Queen
Fucked Up
Get Low
Homicide
I Mo B Yodog Fo Eva
In Da Kar
Meow Meow
Not your Average Rapper
Nuclear Dog part II
Snot 'N Booger
Yellow Light
Zip It

72 mintues in total. No huge expectations here, just a glimpse of what George’s proteges are capable of under his tutelage. Mostly hip-hop that is too far away from p-funk roots to fit anywhere else, plus Dirty Queen which is easily the most out-of-place song on the entire 3 CDs. There’s lots to like on this album, but having it all in one place keeps it from making the flow established by the other styles seem disjointed.

What are your thoughts? I will follow up tonight or tomorrow with some ideas about Medicaid Fraud Dogg.

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I agree with just about everything you said. You’re not gonna get nearly as deep of an analysis from me but here are my thoughts:
Echoing what you said about the all-over-the-place-ness of Shake The Gate, it really isn’t an easy listen in terms of flow as an album.
Frankly I’ve only listened through it once or twice. I was really put off as well by the Funkadelic name being put on something that you listen to and immediately go “hold up, I nose Funkadelic and this ain’t it”. Definitely more of an All Star thang.
I too digg me some hip-hop (Smell My Finga, TAPOAFOM, P U. etc.). But I feel some of their recent releases, although they contain some great cuts, have been overall pretty weak. Basically 2BB4UR Absent and-on.
Take Fraud Dogg: Riddle Me This is probably one of my now favorite P cuts. I also really digg the Insurance Man revisiting. Sick O Me and Oil Jones are decent. Pretty much everything else on there can “get gone” if you ask me. This album I can also say is an All Star thang. Not to be “that guy” but I do kinda wish they hadn’t slapped the Parliament and Funkadelic names on, what are to me, blatantly All Star records stylistically and personnel-wise. But that’s just my 2 cents…

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Funk will sit and never go sour. It gets better after it gets older. He is able to make music that you might not “get” when it first comes out. But then years later you listen to it and bam there it is. Gate to me is no exception. There are some tracks I can take or leave for sure. I do believe it is Funkadelic. It’s got that spirit of experimentation on it. But when it hits it really hits for me.
Is Fucked Up on the version you have, because that is a choice track for me. I have to credit GC for trying to stay current with the hip hop and give him props for a noble effort. I mean, look at his contemporaries from the 1970’s. Who else from that era is even putting out something that new? He is one of the only funk artists from the 70s still getting down in his 70s.
So yeah, I respect Gate an dig a lot of where it’s coming from. Sometimes George’s music won’t do much for me on the surface. Its only after I really dig deep into them that I find the golden nugget.

Fraud Dogg is no exception. I recently listened to it in entirety for the first time in months. It hit. Some really quality stuff on it.
For me music that hits the minute I hear it has no shelf life. George’s stuff always seems to last. Of all the PF canon, the only record I can’t seem to get that out of is How Late. And even on that there are a few tracks that hit. I’ll Be Sitting Here, Neverending, Viagra.

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Great reading your thoughts on this!

I also reacted at first when I saw that they labeled it Funkadelic and that it should’ve been better with GC & the P-funk All Stars or something. But, just like @OooBooBeeDoop, I feel they experimented more when they used the Funkadelic name, and that fits Shake the Gate.

Actually, I recently started to think about if maybe P-funk All Stars wasn’t ideal either. To me, the P-Funk All Starts was the band up until maybe How Late…, and after that (or at least since STG/MFD) the new generation started to tour and record. But I don’t know, one could argue that it’s like an all star team and that the players change all the time… But at the same time I now feel that it doesn’t matter so much, I’m just glad to get the music.

When there’s a 33 track release, there’s bound to be some tracks that you don’t like as much. And always when there’s a double or triple album, you’ll get people saying (including me) that it would’ve been the bomb if they only made it a single disc. But since everybody have different opinions on what should be on that single disc, it would probably not have been the tracks you wanted anyways. So it’s probably good that they didn’t trim it.

The idea with three separate albums with better flow is interesting. But then they wouldn’t have that one album with 33 tracks because it was 33 years ago thing. :slightly_smiling_face:

These are my favorites from Shake the Gate (you can probably see a pattern :smile:):

Baby Like Fonkin’ It Up
Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You (mix)
In da Kar (though I like the efunk and fsq mixes the most)
Radio Friendly
First Ya Gotta Shake the Gate
Boom There We Go Again
Dipety Dipety Doo Stop the Violence (despite the funny title. free alterations!)

Medicaid Fraud Dogg. I feel that MFD had a better flow/more consistent. And you could argue that the added horns fits in with the Parliament name. My favorites from from MFD are:

Medicated Creep
I’m Gon Make U Sick O’me
Antisocial Media
On Fire
Riddle Me This
No Mos
Medicaid Fraud Dogg
Insurance Man

Where On Fire is the favorite. I can have that one on repeat all day! :fire: :fire:
I feel MFD is the stronger one of the two. I could easily add a couple more track to the list above.

Btw @Seventieslord, your P-Funk All Stars disc has the same track list as your George Clinton disc. :wink:

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I had issues with the sequence of the tracks on both records. So I made myself a master mix combining both records. This is what works for me. The ones I didn’t really care for I left off. See if it makes any sense to you in this order:
69

Radio Friendly

you can’t unring the bell

Psychotropic

Yesterdejavu

Antisocial

In da kar

Oil jones

Fucked Up

Dada

Jolene

Type two

Set trip

Pole power

Boom there we go again

All in

Where would I go

Old fool

Roller rink

Ya Habit

Zip it

Riddle me This

Medicaid fraud dog

Higher

Catchin boogie fever

I mo be your dog

On fire

If I didn’t love u

Pain management

Baby like fonkin it up

Loodie poo

Kool Aid

Get low

Mama told me

The wall

No mos

Proof in pudding

Talking to the wall

Backwoods

Medicated Creep

Meow meow

I’m go make sick

Ain’t that funkin ice cube version

First ya gotta shake the gate

Snot n booger

In da kar soul clap mix

Insurance man

Also, I find that when “On Fire” or “Zip It” comes up, I have to turn the bass down on my system or the speakers start wobbling and creaking. I don’t know what that is it sounds like the mix was off somewhat. And I may go back and put “Bernadette” in there somewhere. I dug “Mathematics” but just could not hear it in this flow.

Yeah, I can get to that.

Yes. AFAIK, the only difference between the two versions is that the original has Yesterdejavu and the re-release has Homicide.

You’re not wrong. It’s also not “bad” hip hop at all it’s actually very musical. Listen to the top-40 rap songs of the past decade. Predominantly they’re not the least bit musical anymore. It sure ain’t like the 90s where there was a lot of piano, horns, synthesizers, and samples. Some songs are comprised entirely of bass drops and… I don’t know how to describe them other than “skitters”. This is much better than that.

Same here. That one only lasted 4 listens for me. Out of all Parliament, Funkadelic, George Clinton and Bootsy Collins albums, it’s my least favorite. Something stank is God awful, and the worst P-Funk song ever.

On that note, it’s gotta be a positive that these two albums are a significant step up from that.

While I agree that Somethin Stank is awful, it’s also one of my favorite songs on there just because it’s a funny thing to quote and the awfulness just adds to its memeability. It’s one of those songs you play when your friend passes you the aux cord xD

That’s what I think. It’s a name that can be used over and over again, like Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band!

How many mixes are there? I only know of the one from the album and the one from version excursion.

Definitely we like a lot of the same tracks here. I’d say that for the most part, I’m partial to the songs I placed in the Funkadelic bucket, but not entirely. If I was making a disc of my true favourites, a couple from each of the other two buckets would move over along with them.

Yes, definitely. Although strangely, there are some horns on Shake the Gate too!

No Mos is probably my favourite from MFD, followed closely by Dada (surprised no one has mentioned that one yet). On Fire, I’m Gon Make U Sick O’Me, Riddle Me This would be high up there as well.

I think for the most part, we all have strong agreement on what the best tracks are from these two albums. There are over 50 songs, so that’s saying something. I wonder what a “best of” would look like from this era, and how it would flow.

Nice catch. Fixed it.

There’s not much missing from that list, like maybe 8-9 tracks in total!

I can’t say that I experience the same thing as you with On Fire or Zip It. I wonder if there’s just a certain frequency your speakers don’t like.

Bootsy also has two 2010s albums - Tha Funk Capital of Tha World, and World Wide Funk. They’re still in my rotation as well. (less of a fan of Play With Bootsy, aside from The Bomb). Overall, I think these two are a great return to form compared to Fresh Outta P, and Play With Bootsy. I don’t know, maybe just a little more funky and a little less polished and hip-hoppy? I do love his bass playing, always have.

If I’m comparing to what George and Co have been doing over the same period, I’d put it like this. Two albums that are ultimately much more cohesive in style. Every song has elements of funk and hip hop fused together smartly and produced smoothly. They hit harder and more immediately - they win a sprint, but the p-funk albums win the marathon despite stumbling a few times along the way.

I kept getting a feel for how the jams would flow in a sequence. I tried to group songs that seemed to go together. To compliment each other and segueway in and out to keep the groove.
I seem to get less mileage out of the recent Bootsy stuff when compared to the Funkadelic and Parliament albums. His stuff is banging, good thick chunky sound to it. But after a few listens it does not have the staying power of the George stuff. They both like to combine and pit different styles, genres of music against each other to produce something that is unique. But The Dr’s creations seem to hit me in a more idiosyncratic nature. I wear the grooves out on it at first but then don’t feel myself going back for repeated spins later. I have not listen to World Wide Funk in months. It’s not boring, in fact plenty of it is dynamic. But I love the way seventieslord put it. He wins the sprint.
His best record from a purely creatively musical standpoint recently? And y’all are gonna get me for this. The Christmas record. The fonk on some of those jams is outrageous.

I was the same way about his live sets. I stopped counting the times I’ve seen P-Funk at about 100 since 1980. At one point in the mid 90’s I followed George thru 4 gigs in one week thru the southern United States and was geeked for 'em all. I finally walked out of a marathon P-Funk gig at the end of a 2 night stand in Georgia in fall of '99. I quite literally could funk…no…more. They wore me out. I left during One Nation. Went home could barely stand up. Funked out. That is the first time I realized it was possible to get a P-funk overdose. Wasn’t quite the same after that.

With Casper I saw him once in '81. Again in '93. And again in 2012. No doubt his gig is out to lunch with lunchmeat, a funky good time for all. He was blowing me out with the space bass on I’d Rather Be with You. But had he appeared consecutively over a period of nights, its a good chance I would not have followed him to a near by town the next few nights. It’s too scripted. You knew pretty much exactly what you were gonna get. Saw him supporting Dee-Lite once about 1990 and he could have easily blown them off the stage, but it was interesting to see him in a reserved backing capacity. But I never fiended for it like I did with The Dr. Back in those days P-Funk was so dynamic from a purely improvisational angle no 2 shows were alike. They could and would go in so many directions at the drop of a J. Man that band was unfunkwitable.

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I’m chiming in here later than I would have liked, but I been busy as hell with work, dealing with COVID-19 fallout. So, some brief thoughts–

STG is messy and overlong. But it isn’t flat-out awful like How Late. I was so put off by How Late. It’s not that there’s rap/hip-hop in my P-Funk… I like Smell My Finger and love Dope Dogs. It’s just ugh I dunno. How Late is credited to GC and the PFAS, but then the individual tracks have their own artist credits. There’s some “Funkadelic” which doesn’t sound like Funkadelic to me, there’s “Parliament” that doesn’t sound like Parliament to me, why is this track credited to GC and the other to PFAS? It all seems arbitrary. I rarely listen to How Late. Every now and then I think maybe I’m misremembering it and maybe it’s not as bad as I think. I’ll put it on, first few song are OK, but then crap kicks in and I check out half way through disc 1 and I bail.

OK I know How Late is before the 2010s P-Funk. But I had to discuss it because it totally informed my trepidation about the new stuff. I was so worried that How Late was a harbinger of the future of P-Funk. So STG was an enormous relief. Yeah, it’s too long, coulda shoulda been just two discs. But at least, even with the rap/hip hop, modern trappings, and occasional Parliamenty horns and Mothership references, it still feels like Funkadelic, even if it doesn’t exactly sound like it all the time. It’s crunchy, raunchy, guitar heavy and experimental at times, and there’s a few spectacular tracks.

So I went into MFD still cautious, but with easier mind. Same sort of reaction as with STG-- MFD still feels like Parliament, even if it doesn’t exactly sound like it all the time. But MFD edges ahead because of its sharper focus and reined-in length.

GC is giving his career a fine round-out and conclusion with perfectly acceptable bows by Funkadelic and Parliament. I think he said he wants to put out a final PFAS release, too. I’m looking forward to it.

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I don’t really think of Funkadelic, Parliament, PFAS, and GC “solo” as different bands. They’re all using personnel drawn from the same rotating stable. The crew varies considerably from one track to the next, even on the same album. I’ve read interviews with members who would go in and record a track thinking it would be for one band and it would show up on a different band’s album, or they wouldn’t even know who it was meant for to begin with. Flashlight was gonna be a Bootsy song, Oh I started out as a Parliament song, etc. In a sense, so many P-Funk albums are essentially compilation albums. Part of George’s genius is his ability to compile them in ways that make thematic sense, and then release them under the band name that best embodies the theme (during those periods when he has legal use of the band names!).

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I thought the same thing when i saw the track credits and heard the songs. A few of them are credited to individual artists - am I to believe that none of the core P-funk crew was involved in those songs? From listening to them, I wouldn’t say that is the case.

I pretty much have to agree. And there are “modern trappings” but even still, they are moderate. Musically, there’s almost nothing to the songs that are making the top-40 now, in hip-hop. These songs are nothing like that - there are still a ton of hooks, like the best 90s hip-hop. I saw a comment on youtube calling Shake the Gate “prog funk”. I don’t know if it’s prog-funk or prog-hip-hop, but it’s one of the two. Surely nothing out there sounds like this album.

Has it been said in interviews or something that these are meant to be the final releases under the Parliament and Funkadelic names? I was kinda hoping there would be more. I thought I read that even if George “retires” from touring, that doesn’t mean he won’t still work in the studio.

I don’t think George has explicitly said these were final releases, but considering the 30+ year gap since the previous releases, I kind of think that’s how it will turn out. I would be delighted to be wrong. I have heard him say that in addition to a new PFAS release, he wants to work on re-releasing the WB Funkadelic records with bonus tracks, etc. (Like maybe the originally planned double album configuration of Electric Spanking pleasepleaseplease?) That’s going to keep him pretty busy.

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The Dr has been known to promo an album for 20 years before it either comes out or not. So I am not reading much into this "upcoming’ PFAS album. If I recall correctly shortly after Gate came out, in fact listed in the the credits he starts talking up MFD. Did not release it for another 4 years.
On the heels of MFD he starts talking about One Nation Under Sedation on PFAS. Said it was due out in about 6 months, he just “sent it to mixing” LOL.

Right after Computer Games he started up about Up South and By Way of the Drum.

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Yeah, that Yesterdejavu/Homicide switch and then (as @Stonedar pointed out) there’s a bonus remix track on the re-release.

I double checked with my CDs and I don’t get any wobbling/creaking either.

Yeah that messes with everything. I hope you’re ok!

That’s too funny :joy:. I’ve speculated that the Brainfeeder album would get released in 2020, I could still be right! :slightly_smiling_face:

Also, the original version of Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard On You replaced with Ice Cube/Kendrick Lamar remix.

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Yeah that’s true, forgot about that one.