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P-Funk Singer Robert ‘P-Nut’ Johnson Dies

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Robert “P-Nut” Johnson, whose vocal talents enlivened Bootsy Collins’ Rubber Band before becoming a key component of George Clinton‘s Parliament-Funkadelic, has passed away.

No cause of death has been shared as of this writing, but word of Johnson’s death comes courtesy of Collins, who shared the news in a Facebook that included photos of the visually distinctive singer in action as well as a few words of praise in honor of a talent that became a mainstay of the constantly shifting lineups in Clinton’s collective.

“We lost another one to that other frequency. Mr. Robert P-Nut Johnson,” reads Collins’ post. “Born in Baltimore in 1947, P-Nut started on the road with Bootsy’s Rubber Band and in the studio with P-Funk in 1976. When Bootsy stopped touring in 1979, P-Nut segued to P-Funk. Prior to joining Bootsy’s Rubber Band and P-Funk, P-Nut played with local bands in the Baltimore area. Share yr condolences for his family & friends. Another P-Funk legend R.I.P.”

Sharing vocal duties with Gary “Mudbone” Cooper, Johnson cut a slew of early classics with Collins, paving the way for decades of recordings with various P-Funk projects — including albums attributed to Collins (with and without his Rubber Band), Parliament, Funkadelic, and Clinton. Although his long list of credits doesn’t include many recordings outside Clinton’s creative axis, the group’s incredible prolificacy — and its outsized influence among generations of artists to follow — have made Johnson’s vocals a familiar sound even to listeners who may not realize it.

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