(TBD) How amazing is it that Chuck Brown was profiled in the Wall Street Journal? Props to Jim Fusili for coming to D.C. and doing a story on the Godfather. BUT, while the parts of the article focused on Brown are lovely, some of the generalizations about go-go seem a bit off. So, because it’s pretty much a rule that regional music writers must pick apart national stories about regional music, a look at some of Fusili’s statements:
Or if Rare Essence or UCB are on MTV. Or if Wale is on stage somewhere performing “Dig Dug” or “Breakdown” (which contain go-go samples). Or if non-go-go artists are creating tracks with go-go elements (see Jill Scott, Eve, The Roots). Yes, the word “rarely” was used, but go-go is heard outside of the D.C. area more often than one might think.
Go-go music’s lack of broad appeal seems to boil down to the perception that it can draw a violent crowd[.]
It’s more complicated than that. There are a lot of theories about why go-go has never enjoyed much success outside of the area (although the music has definitely had periods of widespread popularity). Some say go-go bands play too many covers to appeal to national audiences (which I don’t think is true), some say that D.C. doesn’t provide the sort of supportive environment needed to catapult go-go bands into the national spotlight (which I also don’t think is true), and the list goes on. The point is, there is no one thing that can explain why go-go has remained regional. There is no boiling it down to one answer.