*GoGo music has been one of the most well kept secrets in the African music diaspora. Though it was born in our nation’s capital and has thrived, it has not gotten nearly as much props in other geographic areas.
Many of our readers may have immersed themselves in D.C.’s GoGo culture while attending one of Washington’s institutions of higher learning, and loved it.
Who is responsible for this? Most musical styles can trace their origins to one point in time, and even one person. GoGo is no different, Chuck Brown started it all. Who doesn’t remember his classic hit “Bustin’ Loose?” We know rapper Nelly is certainly thankful for it ’cause he sampled it all the way to platinum and beyond with “Hot in Herre” back in 2002.
EURweb.com had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with the man responsible for creating a sound that has endured. He’s been making people get down since 1966.
“I’m happy to be alive and be up on stage moving around and making a little bit of noise,” joked Brown, who recently celebrated his 74th birthday. “It’s designed to make you move. GoGo is another form of funk music. It’s percussion with that African feel, with that Latin ingredient.”
Those of us out who were lost for a definition for GoGo music are now found. Our conversation with Mr. Brown was brief as he is still quite busy, but we were happy to learn more about this relatively obscure musical genre. We have all heard it at one time or another and many did not know exactly what they were listening too, but loved it. One thing that many African Americans are most proud of is our ability to influence other cultures with our own, be it through music, dance, fashion and the like. Here, Mr. Brown gives the lowdown on what influenced his early style.
“I was looking for a sound of my own back in 1972, I put the band (The Soulsearchers) together back in 1966,” he said. “Formerly I was with Los Latinos and that’s when I got the idea of using that percussion sound. We used to do Top 40 at that time. Anything that came on the radio we jumped on it at the time and we put that type of feel to it.”
Once upon a time Hip-Hop music was strictly New York City, Detroit has its soulful sound and Chicago has its own as well. Brown tells EURweb.com that GoGo is all D.C.
“It belongs to us. It belongs to D.C. and it became part of the culture here,” he asserted. “That GoGo beat came out of a church I used to go to when I was a little kid. People used to jump and shout to that beat. It was real fast back in them days. I recognized that beat when Grover Washington came out with ‘Mr. Magic.’ He was using the same beat and I recognized it right away because it had a spiritual feel to it. I took that beat, hooked it up with the Latin sound and the rest is history.”
Some things happen in a seemingly spontaneous manner as they are birthed from the same cultural “stuffs” if you will. Musical styles can sometimes be connected to certain types of fashion, dances and the like. Continuing to school us throughout the interview, Chuck Brown says that was not so for GoGo music. “I decided to call it GoGo music. There was GoGo clubs, GoGo dancers but no GoGo music,” he explained. “They only played regular music. So I decided to call this music GoGo music. When we started doing those percussion breakdowns it got to the point where we didn’t stop. We’d play two or three hours without stopping. When that GoGo thing started happening nobody wanted to get off the dance floor.
That GoGo thing started and never did stop. Brown never seems to stop either. Recently he sat in with the Roots on the Jimmy Fallon Show. But that’s not all. The Godfather of GoGo has a new offering out titled “We Got This,” featuring appearances from the likes of Ledisi, Jill Scott and Marcus Miller.
The live CD/DVD documents Brown and band working their way from Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean A Thing” to KRS One’s “Rappaz R. N. Dainja” to Brown’s seminal 1979 hit “Bustin’ Loose.”
“We Got This” has been on sale since September 21st. Listen to “Love” featuring Chuck and Jill Scott:
To learn more about the 3-time Grammy Award winning legend visit http://www.windmeupchuck.com/.