George Clinton and The Mothership Connection

Throughout the course of the 1970s, George Clinton and the Parliament-Funkadelics, challenged the concept of one band, one sound and allowed for subdivisions of the band and individual members to produce music that differed from the bands popular albums such as Mothership Connection. By using elements of psychedelic and rock n’ roll, with particular influences including Jimi Hendrix, Bootsy Collins and Sly stone; we can see why the P-Funk sound is one of the most recognizable and influential genres of music and why it has been sampled so much throughout musical history. With the band’s carefree attitude towards drugs, satiric lyrics about government and unconventional costumes; the Parliament-Funkadelics could be considered the epitome of psychedelic funk and Afrofuturism, and gave African-Americans a new way to think about life and music .

Parliament-Funkadelic actually began as two separate entities, which would both be eventually led by performer George Clinton. The combination of R&B funk that was used by Parliament and the psychedelic rock sound of Funkadelic, to create the P-Funk movement; which would soon lead to Afrofuturism. George Clinton’s way of thinking could be considered as futuristic, with having strong influences in his work from science fiction mythology. The concept of Afrofuturism was centered around the belief that the future can and will be black; implementing ideas of blackness and futuristic thought into music would soon spawn this new sound. In the intro to “Mothership Connection,” we can hear the speaker say that “citizens of the universe, recording angels, we have come to reclaim the pyramids,” giving us some indication that essentially black people were here on Earth first and were the ones to build it, and now they would like to reclaim their planet. This being one of the many Afrofuturism beliefs, Parliament gave black people a new way of looking at life and listening to music, because George Clinton didn’t consider Funk to be music, but more a state of mind. We will delve deeper into the sound and philosophy of George Clinton to give ourselves a better understanding of how much he influenced black culture and the black state of mind.