George Clinton And Killer Mike: Talking (Barber) Shop – VINCE PEARSON MICHAEL MAY April 20, 2017


Killer Mike (left) and George Clinton met up in The SWAG Shop, the barbershop Killer Mike owns in Atlanta.

Cameron Robert/NPR

Editor’s note: This story contains some explicit language.

The connection between Killer Mike and George Clinton might not seem immediately obvious. One is a 42-year-old Atlanta rapper who, alongside El-P in Run the Jewels, sells out shows across the country without the boost of radio play. The other, now 75, founded the pioneering groups Parliament and Funkadelic in the ’60s and presided over a funk empire whose onstage manifestations included dozens of musicians and a spaceship that descended from the rafters.

But Clinton’s psychedelic funk has influenced generations of rappers, including Killer Mike. After Clinton moved to Atlanta in the early ’90s, he became a mentor to the hip-hop production collective Organized Noize, which nurtured Outkast — which, in turn, discovered Killer Mike. And there’s one more connection: They both have owned barbershops — and say that’s given them the financial freedom to take musical risks.

Killer Mike’s barbershop, The SWAG (Shave Wash And Groom) Shop, is currently up and running in Atlanta. “What I tried to build here was a place where people were free to talk as they wanna do — none of the social ills of the day,” he says. “And you could just come look good. A lot of time when you’re poor and you ain’t got but 15, 20 bucks in your pocket — if you can’t change your shoes, you can change your look with a haircut.”

For his part, Clinton owned and operated the Silk Palace, a barbershop in Plainfield, N.J., for 10 years beginning in 1960 — before Parliament, before the Mothership. He was also the head of a struggling doo-wop group and staffed the shop with his bandmates.

Article continues:


Web editor Rachel Horn contributed to this story.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s