George Clinton and
his George Clinton Enterprises won a major victory last week, when a court granted
Clinton complete rights and control of four influential albums, which he claimed
were swindled from him. On Thursday, United
States District Court Judge Manuel L. Real returned rights and control to four
albums produced: Hardcore Jollies, One Nation Under A Groove,
Uncle Jam Wants You and The Electric Spanking of War Babies.
the rights after a 15 year battle free and clear, with no obligations to any
of the previous owners.
The judge ruled
that Clinton was defrauded of his masters in a case of conspiracy involving
former employees, his lawyers and a former manager.
In various lawsuits,
the former employees claimed Clinton had signed the rights to his masters away.
signing any masters and a document expert supported his denial. Five documents
that were alleged to be assignment papers were found to be cut-and-paste forgeries.
According to George
Clinton Enterprises, the victory is the start of Clinton regaining control over
his catalog and exposing the history of exploitation he has endured throughout
his career, which spans 5 decades.
Clinton often encouraged
rapper’s to sample his work despite not owning the rights to the catalog.
He produced two
albums, Sample Some of Dis and Sample Some of Dat, which allowed
artists to sample music without legal scrutiny.
Clinton spoke on
the issue over 14 years ago in an interview with the Houston Press.
that the industry again is trying to do to rap what they tried to do to funk,
and that’s kill it because it’s got to much information, and spreading of information,”
Clinton said in 1992. “So what we’ve done to keep them [the labels] from
all this stupidity, like trying to sue, or saying that I’m suing people, is
to put out a record called Sample Some of Dis and Sample Some of
Dat – just samples from alot of the old songs, because I have some of the
demos of those songs, which is not what the record company owns, so I can license
those to be sampled. We have a pay schedule that’s really easy to deal with
– if they sell records, they pay, if they don’t they can try again. We got to
make sure that rap survives, because it’s our only means of communication that
gets past the gatekeepers.”
Here is a “sample”
of the rappers who have incorporated material from just these
four albums Clinton produced into their own material: DJ Quik, Dr Dre,
EPMD, Ice Cube, LL Cool J, Steady B., Jeru tha Damaja, XClan, Too $hort, De
La Soul, Geto Boys, Paris, Snoop Dogg, Tone Loc, Yo-Yo, Eric B. & Rakim,
Slick Rick, etc.