Go Go Crankin’ – Various (Island Records) 1985. I think George Clinton once described soul music as a “ham hock in your cornflakes”. This most apt description could easily be applied to the go-go music scene of 1980′s era DC. Early hip-hop from NYC and other places up north was influenced by disco and the urbane funk of bands like Material (among many other things). I don’t believe DC was. Have you ever been to DC in the summer? It’s a freakin’ swamp. This music is swamp-funk. It’s dirty, sloppy (in a good way), loud and funky as hell. If Pumpkin had a cousin from the Deep South, he woulda played like the percussionists in Trouble Funk.
Was DC the first localized hip-hop scene to hit the national spotlight outside of New York? I know Schooly D broke out in the mid-80s from Philly but I don’t think there was a scene built around what he was doing that got national attention. I can’t think of other towns besides NYC representing this early on. South Central was still a few years off in the future and the Dirty South was not even being considered yet.
I mean, I know this is go-go music, not rap…but let’s face it, I think at the time, people still thought rap was a trend and they were trying to hype go-go as the replacement. Now though, go-go should be viewed as part of hip-hop history.
On another note, I believe the folks at Dischord staged a cross-cultural event with some hardcore bands and some Go-Go Bands in DC back in the early 80s. What a great show that woulda been; Government Issue and Trouble Funk. It went well except that the DC straight-edgers had their limits tested by the literal mountains of coke some of these go-go dudes were doing backstage.
I wouldn’t expect anything less, really. Go-Go represented the last call for the party records and what a party it was. It’s hot outside. Crank this shit up.
Slim – Good To Go
Hot, Cold Sweat-Meet Me At The Go Go
Trouble Funk-Let’s Get Small
Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers We Need Some Money
E.U. Ooh La La La
Trouble Funk Drop The Bomb
Slim Good To Go
E.U. Somebody’s Ringing That Door Bell
Trouble Funk Say What?
Mass Extension – Happy Feet
Special thanks has got to go to Otto. He supplied me with this and the Real Enemy demo a while back. Clearly a person of impeccable tastes despite his Sword transgressions.