Ice Cube is indisputably one of the pioneers of gangsta rap and one of the founding fathers of hip-hop in California. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Ice Cube was the face of LA, and from ‘F**k Da Police’ to ‘No Vaseline’, the Compton rapper was unmatched during his heyday. That said, several figures inspired and influenced him, and he was not afraid to share this in his music.
Following his 1990 debut album, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, Ice Cube became more introspective about his lyrics and dialled down the gangsta rap with songs such as ‘It Was A Good Day’ and others showing his softer side. In 1993, for his project Lethal Injection, Ice Cube (real name O’Shea Jackson) decided that he would pay homage to an artist with unbelievably close ties to West Coast rap, the legendary funk musician George Clinton.
Far from a gangster, George Clinton was an off-the-wall character, to say the least, and, akin to Ice Cube, was a pioneer in his own right. A product of the 1960s and ’70s funk era, Clinton was a kooky man but a figure who single-handedly, unintentionally was responsible for the sound of 1990s LA hip-hop music. The G-Funk movement spearheaded by Dre and figures such as Snoop Dogg was almost entirely dependent on the music of George Clinton, and his ingenuity was an integral part of LA’s rise to power in the early-90s.
G-Funk was birthed from Dr Dre experimenting with P-Funk, a subgenre developed by the band Parliament-Funkadelic. A talented session instrumentalist, the legendary George Clinton was initially a member of two bands—Parliament, formed in the 1960s in New Jersey and another collective named Funkadelic. However, split between the pair, the icon cleverly merged the groups to create a hybrid supergroup called Parliament-Funkadelic. The outfit made funk music with a sci-fi aesthetic, the outlandishness of glam rock, and the psychedelia of the 1960s, then fused it with a splash of electronic music. Clinton is lauded as one of the foremost innovators of funk and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 alongside other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.
As a revered visionary within the African-American community, in 1993, Jackson wrote a West Coast ode to George Clinton. The song (entitled Bop Gun One Nation) in true California style samples Funkadelic. More specifically, it includes segments from ‘One Nation Under A Groove.’ Furthermore, the track title references the 1977 Parliament cut, ‘Bop Gun (Endangered Species)’. Clinton even appears on the song himself.
In a 2018 ‘Ask Me Anything’ Clinton participated in on Periscope, he addressed the track telling viewers, “When he said ‘Bop Gun’, I thought he was talking about ‘Bop Gun’, I didn’t realize until I got there that he was playing ‘One Nation’ which is easier for me to do because I’m not trying to sing behind Glenn on Bop Gun. They slowed it down a bit, making it easier for me to sing. It was the bomb.”