George Clinton is one of the God particles of hip-hop. Like James Brown before him, his crucial contributions to the world of funk form the basis of rap as we know it.
Not just the samples, the breaks, the ripoffs, and the re-writes, but the classics. From De La Soul's "Me, Myself and I" to Dr Dre's "Let Me Ride," Snoop Dogg's "What's My Name?," and others with 2 Pac, Ice Cube, and Aaliyah; none of them would exist without Clinton's multitude of projects, including the Parliament and Funkadelic collective.
So it was with great anticipation that the crowd gathered to hear the legend, live and in the flesh, for Winter Music Conference's 30th anniversary. He performed his collaboration with Little Louie Vega for the song "Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard On You." And he left the fans at WMC's Deauville Beach Resort headquarters floating in post-funk bliss.
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Out by the pool, the Deauville has its own miniature festival stage, with fresh lights, speaker boom, multiple bars, terrace-style viewing, and plenty of space to sit back and chill. So the dance floor wasn't exactly packed when Louie Vega hit the decks, but the longer that he played, the more people came.
Evening turned to night, while deep house full of congas, toms, and Afro-Caribbean rhythms pumped out in syncopated electronic tides. And soon enough, the floor was full of bouncing bodies, bobbing heads, and the warm glow of neon spotlights gyrating like the people that they shined on.
Beside the stage, the P Funk Army got down with the getdown to get up from downtown and be ready to make it funky.
Little Louie Vega was deep in the zone. And the music didn't sound like individual songs, but one long continuous one.
Meanwhile, a local bikini girl got out of the hot tub and smiled.
Sure, some people might have got slightly bored while waiting for George Clinton, stopping to check their nails while so many were moving and grooving around them, but even they had a glow about them.
And that's when the music went up a notch. A mightily Afro-ed keyboard player stepped to the stage. And within minutes, he went into a killer solo display of virtuosic musical dexterity, perfectly complemented by Little Louie Vega.
Not long after that, a dude with a funny-looking miniature guitar stepped to the forefront, grabbed a seat, and started punching staccato cuts sharper than Shinobi's blade into the mix. Like the DJ and the keyboardist, he too was a bad motherfucker.
The trio jammed. And that's when special guest BeBe Winans joined the party. He, a gospel R&B singer from a great musical family, unleashed the gutbucket growl of the blues, mixed with the soulful sounds of the church and the electronic bedrock of the drums and the slicing of the guitar. In no time, most of the audience was singing, "Thank you," right back at the singer.
But the night was only just beginning. And that's why the crew brought out one of the Clark Sisters to sing along. This woman had pipes on her like Tommy Chong at the Cannabis Cup. Even the sound system wasn't ready for the power of her vocal cords. But her piercing melodies were as sweet as they were powerful and she took the ensemble to the next level. Vega promised that one of his next releases will include multiple Winans singers and multiple Clark singers too.
They were grooving harder than a ten-ton boulder rolling down a mountain. It was a sight to see, but it was even better to hear and feel.
Finally, it was time for George Clinton and his crew to get in on the action.
George Clinton, the Dogfather of funk, stepped to the stage with authority, skill, and style. Then he got low-down dirty and funky like a motherfucker should.
A sea of camera phones formed a tidal wave that spread the funk across the universe for all to see.
Did you know that without George Clinton there would be no Snoop Dogg? He played the originals, which became the samples, which became the soundtracks for the generations that have followed in his foot stomps as best they could. This seemed to amuse him.It was great. It was good. It was gone. It was glorious. It was reefer smoke and LSD, margaritas by the sea, pineapples, umbrellas, naked girls. It was pure, raw, uncut, straight-drop, off-the-chain, unleashed, uninhibited, dookie, doo-doo, stanky, dirty, funky, funky, funky, funk.
The hits parlayed one after the other through decades of searing substance and music.
And the chorus was on point like the tip of an iceberg.
So teamwork made the dream work, as reality swirled through the gutter and down the drain of our psyche.
And George Clinton said, "You want the what?"
And the people said, "The funk!" And then he gave it to them.
The people said their thanks the best way that they could.
And with that, the show crescendoed, climaxed, and closed out with a final spin, and a last goodbye, and that was that.
After the set, singer and songwriter Nakid87 (pictured above) told us to tell you to check out the new Funkadelic album, First Ya Gotta Shake the Gate. She wrote four songs on it.
Nakid87 lives in Tallahassee now. This was her first time ever in Dade County. She has been peforming all her life, writing songs since elementary school, and she will be spending nine months in Miami as a student at Scratch DJ Academy.
She is also George Clinton's daughter, and she says, "I was born naked in 1987. That's how I got my name."
It was an awesome show, and we wish there had been more. But until next time, we gotta go.