There are few funkier than George Clinton. He is embarking on his final world tour with a new album to support, the first under the Parliament band name in 38 years. Titled Medicaid Fraud Dogg it is a sprawling/exhausting exploration of the deep recesses of Clinton and crews collective consciousness in 2018.
For those a bit confused Clinton lead both bands, Parliament and Funkadelic throughout the 70’s creating the foundation of outer space funk which influenced countless artists and fans. The bands overlapped so much P-Funk became synonymous with all things funky and even longtime supporters might have a hard time picking out which famous songs belonged to which group. Clinton’s initial premise was to use Funkadelic for guitar-based funk rock and Parliament as a smoother R&B outfit with more horns and backing vocals. In the end, legal problems and management issues forced him to drop both names but here is Medicaid Fraud Dogg with a look to both the past and the future.
The overflowing release contains 23 long-running tracks (pushing up towards 2 hours of listening) that touch all the spastic, bizarre and at times conflicting brain waves emanating from Clinton and company. For an example of this warped sense of mental connection, look no further than “Oil Jones”. The song manages to combine workout chants of “Hiney In! Hiney out!”, demands to “Suck that gut in, bitch!” and rants about “Dinosaur bones underfoot” and proclamations that “Fracking, the world be cracking”, all supported by very familiar cartoonish bass, and self-parodying riffs.
The outfit has also taken on some modern twists to freshen up the formula. MC’s pop up in most songs for rhyme interludes while full tracks like the modern day sex jam “Backwoods” and the bombastic braggadocios “Mamma Told Me” wouldn’t be out of place on a 2018 MC debut offering, but the group knows what most fans are waiting for on any release involving Clinton; the funk.
The first single “I’m Gon Make U Sick O’Me” is the best jam on the album as it manages to combine Clinton’s oddball spirit, patented groove, dynamite horns, crashing cymbals, gorgeous background vocals and guest help from Scarface and Mudbone. “Ya Habit” also successfully brings the P-Funk style into the modern age via a raw confessional thumper dealing directly with drug addiction, closer “Type Two” is a retro atomic dog walker while “Psychotropic” takes a different path by paying tribute to Funkadelic’s Eddie Hazel’s guitar around female vocals; all standout numbers.
The album repeats themes and styles such as using jazzy light trumpet, sultry riffs and other tripped out vamps (“Proof is in the Pudding”, “No Mos”, “On Fire”) some gross-out, do the nasty bumpers (“Kool Aid”, “Riddle Me This”) twisted R&B fueled floaters (“Higher”) a few modern day screeds against modern day ills (“Antisocial Media”, “Insurance Man”, “Pain Management”) and disco fueled freak funk (“69”, “All In”) sprinkled around to kick up the dance floor tempo.
The past is ever present, to the point things become repetitive as if the players are sampling old Parliament releases, however, a few new characters are also introduced for future tour shenanigans like the title tracked “Medicaid Fraud Dogg” and “Loodie poo Da Pimp” who proves influences can work both ways playing like a warped Outkast workout.
A mega release that fans will devour, Medicaid Fraud Dogg is an unwieldy beast of an album, which will overwhelm for the casual listener. Clinton remains a man making music on his own terms and if this is his swan song, the maestro will remain president of the one nation under the groove, past present and beyond.