Parliament

Mothership Connection

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The definitive Parliament-Funkadelic album, Mothership Connection is where George Clinton's revolving band lineups, differing musical approaches, and increasingly thematic album statements reached an ideal state, one that resulted in enormous commercial success as well as a timeless legacy that would be compounded by hip-hop postmodernists, most memorably Dr. Dre on his landmark album The Chronic (1992). The musical lineup assembled for Mothership Connection is peerless: in addition to keyboard wizard Bernie Worrell; Bootsy Collins, who plays not only bass but also drums and guitar; the guitar trio of Gary Shider, Michael Hampton, and Glen Goins; and the Brecker Brothers (Michael and Randy) on horns; there are former J.B.'s Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker (also on horns), who were the latest additions to the P-Funk stable. Besides the dazzling array of musicians, Mothership Connection boasts a trio of hands-down classics -- "P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)," "Mothership Connection (Star Child)," "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)" -- that are among the best to ever arise from the funk era, each sampled and interpolated time and time again by rap producers; in particular, Dr. Dre pays homage to the former two on The Chronic (on "The Roach" and "Let Me Ride," respectively). The remaining four songs on Mothership Connection are all great also, if less canonical. Lastly, there's the overlapping outer-space theme, which ties the album together into a loose escapist narrative. There's no better starting point in the enormous P-Funk catalog than Mothership Connection, which, like its trio of classic songs, is undoubtedly among the best of the funk era.

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