Haskins was born in Elkins, West Virginia, and starting in the late 1950s he was a founding member of doo wop vocal group The Parliaments, led by George Clinton. The group originated as a barbershop quintet in the back room of a barber shop on West 3rd Street in Plainfield, New Jersey. Haskins often sang lead in the group. They started traveling to Detroit, Michigan on weekends in order to audition for Motown Records and to participate in the fertile music scene there. The Parliaments released singles on several record labels, but did not have a hit until 1967 when "(I Wanna) Testify," on the small Detroit imprint Revilot Records, reached #3 on the Billboard R&B singles chart. The song was actually recorded by George Clinton and a group called The Holidays, as the other Parliaments didn't make it to Detroit that week. Revilot went out of business, and in the process, the group lost their name, The Parliaments.
By 1970, the five Parliaments singers were touring with five backing musicians known separately as Funkadelic. The highly rehearsed performances and suited look of The Parliaments gave way to the members dressing in their own outrageous styles. Haskins wore long johns on stage. Due to the contractual issues surrounding the group name, Clinton signed the band as Funkadelic to Westbound Records. The ensemble released their first album Funkadelic in 1970. Clinton also renamed his group of singers Parliament (but still with the Funkadelic musicians as official members) and signed that act to the Holland-Dozier-Holland-owned record label, Invictus. Parliament released their first album Osmium in 1970. Clinton now had two groups that were actually one entity. Under the name Funkadelic, the ensemble was geared towards a rock audience, and as Parliament it was aimed at a soul music audience. Collectively, they became known as Parliament-Funkadelic, or P-Funk. Haskins contributed to P-Funk as a writer through 1972. He toured and appeared on P-Funk albums as a singer, and occasionally as a guitarist, throughout the 1970s. In June 1977 at the height of P-Funk's popularity, Haskins (along with other original Parliaments Calvin Simon and Grady Thomas) left the ensemble over financial and management disputes with Clinton.
Haskins released his first solo album, A Whole Nother Thang, in 1976. The album featured P-Funk members: Tiki Fulwood and Cordell "Boogie" Mosson on drums, and Bootsy Collins and Mosson on bass. Bernie Worrell makes an appearance on keyboards, contributing horn and string arrangements as well. Haskins served as producer, singer, songwriter, guitarist and even drummer on one song. Haskins released his second album, Radio Active, two years later. An Ace compilation from 1994 reissued both albums on one CD.
In 1981, Haskins, Simon, and Thomas formed a new funk band using the name Funkadelic, appeared on Soul Train under that name, and released the album, Connections & Disconnections. The album was later reissued on CD with the title Who's a Funkadelic? in 1992. In the 1990s, Haskins toured with Original P, a group made up of four of the original five Parliaments.