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George Clinton's trip to the mountaintop

The big payback, why crack is wack, and the future of the Funk

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So where are you living right now, where are you?

I'm in the studio; I'm all over the place. I got studios all over the place trying to get this album out. I got people doing something in L.A., some doing something in Tallahassee [where I live], some doing something in England.

Weren't you living in Atlanta for a while?

Yeah, I come there to record. I'll be coming there in a few days to record.

With all of the sampling of your music, hip-hop has kept funk on the map. Why do you think the genre continues to be so vibrant and alive?

We're not from this planet.

Well, tell me about that because a lot of black artists, from Sun Ra to you to OutKast, have dabbled in Afro-futurism, talking about being from somewhere else. Why do you think we came here if we're not from here?

I don't have no reason. I just try to be available to that which comes through me. I have no desire to think I did it. I think that all of us, as a group of musicians, liked to do what we were doing so bad that that took priority over everything else.

Funk is the DNA of hip-hop. I did a song called "Clones of Dr. Funkenstein." DNA is what that song was all about. I have no idea, I know where I got it from, by I have no idea why it appeared [to me], why I was attracted to it. But it ended up being one thing that keeps music around. The Funk is still around. Take a little sample and you can come up with a brand new song with it.

Any time you hear people say "That ain't music," especially parents and old musicians, they don't know they just OK'd it to become the next music. That's my whole theory on how to stay up on shit. Every time you hear somebody say, "Man, that ain't music," they just made it music. That's the worst thing a musician that's successful can say. I'm all about what the kids are doing with the music lately. And I love Jay-Z, he's rolling, but that ["Death of] Auto-Tune"? He may wanna leave auto-tunning alone for a bit. [laughs] 'Cause it's getting stronger as opposed to getting old and played out.

T-Pain is right here in Tallahassee. I loved the first record. I didn't know what to call it, but I liked it. And so did a lot of other people. I loved it. To me that's funky. The funk will survive at all costs. I think that's why we're still around, because music is more important, even than getting paid — even though we want to get paid and we're going to get paid. But I think had we not had that attitude, just the sheer amount of money we [could generate] everyday, if you would have known it, it would've killed you.

And we're close with everybody [who samples our shit], we make sure that we stayed close to them because I'm sure they took more money from them than they were supposed to take in the first place. They didn't give it to them or us.

Eventually I'm gonna have something called a Royalty Statement Party. You bring your royalty statement and show me how much they charged you for the sample and I show you that I never got it. So if I didn't get it, you got some money coming back. But we have to be down together for that to work. And sooner or later when they get off the charts and it ain't working so good for them, they'll think about that.

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