Stay Woke: George Clinton, Flying Lotus, Shabazz Palaces and Thundercat Blast Off

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By    September 28, 2015

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This is a party and a processional. An effort to convey smoke signals to extraterrestrials while recognizing your inherent singularity and otherness on earth. It’s a generational murderer’s row exhausted from narrow-minded earthly distraction. The smoked out doctor of funk, the atomic dog, catches another one at 74 years, preaching cosmic visions like it was unclear if he came from Mu or Mars or a place called Plainfield.

This is George Clinton but you know that — the rite of passage as a collaborator, arguably the last one left. The one who periodically touches down upon this decaying coil to grace tracks with Pac, ‘Kast, Kendrick, Cube, Reggie Noble, and Dre. If afro-futurism is a intellectual lineage that traces back to Sun Ra, George Clinton is it’s Moses — not the founder but the one who created the 10 Commandments, scrawled in florescent Crayola. The only difference is that he’s still around to lead us into the promised land.

If there is a better combination than Clinton with Shabazz Palaces and Thundercat and FlyLo, you probably are incinerating better drugs than even George Clinton has consumed. Ish carried the weight through the mid-90s until now, levitating up and down, combining fulminations with jittery funk — shouting out that he’s from the “race with the bass.” He says to not get it in is the greatest sin.

Then the vocoder hits, Thundercat’s bass wobbles, Lotus’ beat does Millennium Falcon twists, and Clinton balances the celestial ambrosia-drunk falsetto with the woozy filthy growl. The jam rides out, it gets calm with Lotus channeling Alice Coltrane, the marimbas from Shabazz kick in, George Clinton mumbles in the background, the claps start, and Clinton gets clear again, telling you to take a ride. He can see it in your eyes, you don’t have to lie.

This is music for cosmic seances, alien resurrections, jams to free your mind, ass, body, soul, and the squint that’s settling into your right eye socket from too many hours staring at the screen. Occasionally you get music that feels liberating. The shit that reminds you that we are all living and dying on a rock floating through space, warmed by a burning gas fireball, chilled by the frauds but given lavish light from the music.

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