I remember hearing George Clinton's "Atomic Dog" as a kid, but I didn't really become hip to P-Funk (Parliament and Funkadelic) until the late 80's, and early 90's. At that time I realized how much of my favorite hip hop included samples from P-Funk and George's other projects as a creator and producer. Clinton's P-Funk inspired the West Coast G-Funk sound, and his influence can be heard all over the N.W.A family tree of Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Ice Cube as well as contemporaries like Ice-T, Digital Underground, Tupac, De La Soul, Public Enemy, Notorious BIG, Wu-Tang and many more. Clinton has worked with acts as diverse as Zapp & Roger, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Kendrick Lamar, his contribution to modern music is massive.
I met George at Art Basel in 2009 when he stopped by to check out a mural that I was creating. He was friendly and funny, so I felt at ease. George mentioned that he made art and said he might want to stop by my studio in LA sometime and I thought he was just being cordial, but sure enough, he has dropped by a couple of times! We talked about music, including drug raids and police harassment when he toured with fellow Detroit natives The MC5. We also talked about me doing a portrait of him and the time finally came when I was asked to be part of a P-Funk art show. "Flash Light" is one of my favorite Parliament songs, so I riffed on that as an opportunity to put the spotlight on a musical hero of mine who happens to be a very cool and funny guy. – Shepard
George Clinton Flash Light. 18 x 24 inches. Screen Print on cream Speckle Tone paper. Signed by Shepard Fairey. Edition of 450. $65.