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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 08/31/2006

Nightlife Agenda Pick of the Week

By Fritz Hahn

As consistently disappointed cheerleaders of local music, we hold these truths to be self-evident: that D.C. based hip-hop artists and go-go music will never become national phenomena. And just when we're convinced of that declaration, one new voice on the scene is forcing us to reconsider.

A rapper by the name of Wale has figured out how to fuse a mainstream-friendly hip-hop sound with go-go in a way that could detonate a hip-hop trend branded with the three stars and two bars of Washington's flag. (All the proof you need is in a song called "Dig Dug" over on his MySpace page.) He'll be filming part of the video for his song "Breakdown" during his performance at Platinum Friday, which we find significantly more exciting than Young Dro, the headliner of the evening. While Dro's "Shoulder Lean" represents the essence of the South's stranglehold on the popular sound of rap music, Wale represents what just might usurp it. This show is one of our rare 18-and-over picks; just make sure to hit for the guest-list discount.

This is just one of the events you'll find in this week's Nightlife Agenda column, which covers concerts, dancing until 4 a.m., a DJ-led picnic and plenty of other picks for your long weekend.

By Fritz Hahn  | August 31, 2006; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Music  
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I like Wale's song. He used something that was already popular (go go) and blended it with a good flow. I think that the go go sound will be a key factor when it comes to DC artist. The west coast became popular with Roger Troutman sounds,The south is doing the same thing now with the snap music,and New York is known for lyrical masterpieces. So whenever DC artist get a collective sound, one sound to define the city then they will become more commom in universal Hip Hop.


Live Go Go music is something that will be a part of DC forever. I doubt it will ever get national attention, but as long as bands stay creative and original then they will always be love in DC.

Posted by: hogboss | August 31, 2006 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Listening to Wale makes me wish NEG was still around.

Posted by: MR | August 31, 2006 11:08 AM | Report abuse

DC is on the come up. Believe that. The scene is a powder keg waiting to explode. The only question is can DC handle it and can the artists handle it? The ones I know can.

DreamCity Theatre Group is forming the new form of American Theater. Anyone see the 70? It was at MLK Library, we need to see it at a lareger venue.

Posted by: DreamCity | August 31, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I grew up in an era when I loved the Sugar Hill Gang as much as I loved Trouble Funk. So, hearing Wale made me feel good. I don't listen to much go-go these days unless it's the old stuff but I do stop and listen when his music is on the radio.

I'm glad that he's filming part of his video with a live audience because being "at the go-go" is a major part of understanding go-go.

Posted by: kf | August 31, 2006 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I love the two Wale songs I hear on the radio. I would definitely buy this guy's album. I miss NEG too.

Posted by: Princess | August 31, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

The only way Go-Go music has a future is if a talented group of musicians come on the scene and provide the music for nationally known acts. Similar to what the Roots does for other hip-hop and R/B artists. But it must be good music with a true go-go feel. We got a taste of this with Rare Essence playing for Ludacris on the Tonight Show and the Awards ceremony last year. However, too many bands are dominated by the lead talker and there is no way Big G, for example, is going to let Backyard (the musicians) go national and he has no role. It is the downfall of Go-Go and the number one reason why it will not go any further...the music is strong but the vocals are typically deficient. This goes for lead talkers trying to rap/sing.

Another point, go-go bands must put the toms away. The toms to a non go-go head is just noise. Shoot, to a go-go head the toms are just noise. We have to focus on the music and the quality of music for Go-go to be accepted outside of the area.

Posted by: Why Not Go-Go | August 31, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I agree.. Wale has done something really great and special that can really put this area on the scene with the song "Dig Dug". The only reason that Go Go music to me has a problem being nation wide is because it has an identity crisis. It "borrows" too many lyrics/choruses from already popular mainstream songs, which makes Go Go seem nothin like cover music to a Major label.

If Go Go was more consistant with its orginality and marketed itself as more of a "Live Band" appeal to the masses (i.e. like The Roots) and stop doing cover songs, then it will have a chance. Go Go music is a unique sound and it needs to create its own identity by sticking to its roots.

Posted by: DC Music Lover | August 31, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

i wish the DC artist luck. from my day go-go was hurt by not being radio friendly, production quality and marketing. Word of mouth carried Trouble, EU and Essence pretty far. some of that stuff was classic and my kids enjoy it today. they were victims of marketing in my opinion. The major record labels weren't into doing distribution deals for small locals like they are now. I lived in the south before juvenile, mystical, Master P and all those boys made it national. Their local radio gave them support with tremendous air play. So much so you did not hear much NYC or west coast rap, unless it was Biggie, Tupac, or Dr. Dre. second tier east and west rappers got no airplay because of local/regional rap. The DC radio stations need to give the support if the quality music is there.

Posted by: old head from 80's | August 31, 2006 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Back in the mid 1990s while in college, an organization I was affiliated with brought the Good JYB to our school. In a meeting with Moe Shorter (long time manager of JY) I asked him why he thought Go-Go could not survive out of DC. His response still sticks with me today. He pretty much stated that too many Go-Go bands were embarrasing national acts at concerts in DC. In short the national hip-hop acts could not match the intensity of the local go-go bands. From that he stated larger record labels would request for no go-go bands to perform at concerts with national acts.

Sounds like the record labels were conspiring against go-go bands.

Maybe one day there will be a musician that comes from DC with a pure go-go sound, good lyrics, and can make some progress and allow for the rest of the country to truly experience the call/response intensity of a "show." Until then, go-go will only be music you hear coming from some bamas tinted out police auctioned Crown Victoria.

It's a shame.

Posted by: A True Story | August 31, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the derail, but:
The links to the "Got Plans" archives are (once again) borked. The latest one you can access is from early July...

Posted by: dan | September 1, 2006 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Totally agree with "Why no gogo". Please go-go bands put the toms away. I mean where are the congos these days? Where's the pocket?

Posted by: go-go Craig | September 2, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

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