The Freelance Mentalists.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Some Albums Should Be Elected President (Or At Least Math Dept. Chair)

George Clinton and the P.Funk All-Stars, T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M. (Sony), 1996

It will come as no surprise to anybody who reads this site that I would love this album. But it's not just love. It's lust. I want this album in the worst way, all the time, in any available format. It's the perfect comeback record but it was slept on the way the P is always slept on. I think the failure of America to embrace T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M. is indicative of larger issues in the country, but no other wiser country has embraced it either. So I guess I'm just disappointed with everyone who isn't me. And it wouldn't be the first time.

The title of course stands for The Awesome Power Of A Fully Operational Mothership, which would have been a better title but I think that was the name of the last Digital Underground record so no dice. And it is fully op on this here: not just prime George but all the living henchmen: Shider, Hampton, Blackbyrd, Billy Bass, Lige, Skeet, Mudbone, Junie, P-Nut, Ray Davis, Boogie. Bernie Worrell is here, as is Bootsy and his brother Catfish; Sheila Brody and Belita Woods and Uncle Charlie Wilson and both Fiddler brothers are here; and, of course, Clinton's rapping son Treylewd and singing daughter LaShonda. There are some others who you may or may not recognize too but you don't want me to list them all. A lot of people fit into the Mothership.

Maybe people just didn't like the fact that the first song (and bid for hit single) was the weakest. "If Anybody Gets Funked Up (It's Gonna Be You)" has a weak rap tag-team of Erick Sermon and MC Breed, and it's kind of genericky if you don't listen closely, so yeah I understand that. But better ears will reveal the undeniable groove and a hummo continuo that just won't quit and some sophisticated interplay, as well as George's typical apocalypso stylings about live bands being illegal soon so we'd better cleave more closely to the P. Which has turned out to be true, if you put the words "great" and "funky" in there before "bands". So: prophetic.

But the rest is so amazing that it's been bitten from since then. Kanye lifts his spaceship song (you know, the one where he argues that he's been oppressed for having to work at the Gap, man I wanted to smack him for that until I heard the workout song which is funny but then "Jesus Walks" started to annoy me so now I don't like him for a while) from "New Spaceship," where Charlie Wilson does so much woozy smoked-out testifying that Pharrell had to borrow him for Snoop's "Beautiful" last year. In fact, I think them Neptune boize must have a couple of copies of this album, because "Let's Get Funky" could be a N.E.R.D. slow jam, and the seven-minute grind of "Sloppy Seconds," where Bootsy and Bernie concoct a slutty early-70s crust--

You know what? I can't finish this. It's turning into a Review. I hate Reviews right now. You know why? I'll tell you.

This email was forwarded to me based on my review of Trap Muzik on Popmatters.

"Hi, My name is P***** W********, I am a 20 year old female representing GRIFFIN, GA  not that far from the home of T.I.  I wanted to comment on the article about T.I.  I think he is really the King Of The South.  His music is the best I've ever heard.  I think people are hating on him because he is original and the best upcoming rapper for the year 2004.  I have all his CD's(not bootleg) and a few posters.  I just wanted to tell everybody out there who have doubts about T.I.  "Please do not sleep on this man or doubt him because, he is one of the best, even though he has had ups and downs, I among others love the hell out him!!!!  I LOVE YOU, T.I.!!!!!"

This kind of thing happens on ILM all the time, and everyone gets all bent out of shape about "oh those damned Googlers again." But I want to emphasize that I am not posting this to make fun of Ms. W********. I think it's awesome. There is no ironic cool detachment here, there is no self-consciousness, nothing except fan love, sent through the electronic void to an online magazine that published a good review of a record she loves by an artist she really loves. I want to be her, I want to feel that fan love again without worrying about how it'll make me look, how people will react, whether or not I'm judging a record by some kind of fakey objective standards. Those standards are just buzzwords used to cover up personal likes and dislikes and we all know it and we continue to pretend that we're experts, that we have some kind of training other than just listening to shitloads of records and reading shitloads of older people's criticisms of those records and figuring out how to horn our loves and likes and dislikes and hates into the narrow shoes we are given.

And the P. does not deserve narrow shoes. I'm not going to convince you how wonderful T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M is by referring to great lines (although when "Mathematics" finally gets around to its hilarious punches like "I will go into you...TWO times" it really is funny) or to kick-ass musical moments (like how they slouch into the semi-rap on "Underground Angel" and it's all like 'oh snap they're actually rapping now') or anything. That's fine. Sleep on this record, the whole P.Funk catalog, I won't worry about it anymore. That'll just leave me to be a Fan like my girl P***** W********. That's the highest rung to aim at anyway.
Sometimes those of us within the PFunk Camp are it's biggest critics.
But my pal Amp Fiddler just downloaded this cd on itunes, reminding me what a dope package it really was.
Thanks for helping them find the funk...

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