My interest in Parliament and Funk music is superseded by its influence on the Hip Hop music of the 90s. In this case of George Clinton and his P-Funk musician collective, its the re-imagining of his songs from the likes of Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube that are among some of my all time favorite Rap tunes. Their last record was thirty eight years ago, so it was quite a surprise to hear of a new album in the works, I thought they were done and dusted, the last Parliament tour was in the 80s bar occasional one offs as the Parliment-Funkadelic collective. So after a long hiatus Clinton returns with his son Tracey Lewis to go another lengthy round.
Medicaid Fraud Dogg plays very much like an open, grooving jam, a free for all. It explores avenues with varying degrees of styles, aesthetics and instruments that mostly stick to a Funk template but often slip into rather mellow and jazzy lulls of relaxed expectations. Clocking in over a sizeable one hundred minutes it clearly sets no bars for curation and may test some listeners patience. It drifts from track to track with no obvious theme or direction bar the references to medication culture. Many of the songs have a leisurely temperament about them and a few tracks take a drastic shift as one young rapper gets the limelight to showcase their modern rap style with a tightly produced modern, Trap influenced Hip Hop beat. The track Mama Told Me aims to meld the two sounds together in a rather tragic mess.
It doesn't suit how I enjoy records, yet there is some good music is to be found. Its glossy sound revises lots of classic Funk sounds and ideas. With an arsenal of trumpets, the bass guitar, saxophone, piano and other instruments, Clinton's musicians meld the punchy synthetic sounds with little in the way of new tricks or surprises but certainly with a big dose of style and fun. The production however is insufferable in its inconsistency. The difference in volume between tracks and instruments can be misleading. The loud voice over the quiet music of Kool Aid sounds like an interlude compared to the loud and prominent Dada that follows.
The album hits a few good notes with its "social media ain't shit" hook on the Antisocial Media track. Its a reminder of how little this record lands its hooks. Not even its jiving I'm Gonna Make You Sick Of Me song with its big raunchy baselines and funky synths, fit for a west-coast remaster, can deliver something memorable on the lyrical front. The album rolls out on a lull and given my lack of affinity with Funk music the length may just wear me down. There wasn't a lot to take away on this one.
Favorite Tracks: Backwoods, I'm Gonna Make You Sick Of Me, Antisocial Media