DJ Kool Talks About New Go-Go Doc & Why The Genre Didn't Go Pop Like Hip-Hop
(AllHipHop News) “The Beat Don’t Stop” is a documentary that delves deep into the origins and history of Go-Go music and culture. Moreover, the doc, produced by TV One, will celebrate the genre creator Chuck Brown and many other trailblazers.
One of those popular pioneers is DJ Kool, who left his indelible mark forever with “Let Me Clear My Throat,” a 1996 infectious hit that has traveled through the generations.
DJ Kool was also one of those artists that stood uniquely between Go-Go and Hip-Hop.
“I’ve been a part of the scene, for the most part, since the inception, personally as an artist and as a DJ, I’ve had one foot Hip-Hop and one foot in Go-Go,” DJ Kool told AllHipHop exclusively. “That’s one of the reasons why my music sounds the way that it does. I have this hybrid type of sound. I did that so when I jumped into the ring being an artist in the Hip-Hip genre, I want people to know I was from here (Washington DC). I was born and bred here.”
The musical roots of Go-Go is an intricate mix of innovation, history, and raw Black Excellence. DJ Kool spoke to the impact of Chuck Brown, jazz, and Afro Latino drums, rhythms and melodies.
“I didn’t want to get a strong knowledge of [the roots of Go-Go) until I really got a chance to sit down and talk to Chuck Brown, (the Godfather of Go-Go). He told me his back story and he told me his musical roots,” DJ Kool continued. “He told me that first and foremost he was a jazz and bluesman but then, on top of that, he also played in a Latino Cuban band so basically he kinda did what I did. He mixed these two styles of music together and that’s where you get the percussion rhythms from, from this Latin Music sound. Everything else is just the jazz and blues influence, the Jazz and the melodies, that you hear in Go-Go.
Hip-Hop is a long-time supporter of Go-Go and vice-versa. For example, Grandmaster Melle Mel and The Furious Five sampled Trouble Funk's "Drop the Bomb" for their hit record “Pump Me Up.” DJ Kool struck gold in the hood and just about every party on Earth in the 90’s with “Let Me Clear My Throat.”
“The Beat Don’t Stop” includes appearances from Doug E. Fresh, members of Junk Yard Band, Trouble Funk, E.U., Backyard Band, TOB, TCB and many others.
A press release said:
“The film will take viewers through the history of D.C.’s indigenous sound, which emerged out of underprivileged neighborhoods during the height of the crack cocaine epidemic in the 1980s and was largely blamed for the rise in crime and violence that paralyzed D.C. Go-go legends and current artists, historians, community leaders, and journalists provide first-hand accounts about the social power and influence of Go-go and how the music served as a platform for African Americans to elevate and address issues such as class struggles, gentrification and the music’s impact on Black culture.”
While Hip-Hop and Go-Go have similar backgrounds, only rap music went pop.
“We never got the proper marketing that Hip-Hop has got.” DJ Kool said. “That’s another show in itself. We never were really been in the proper machine. We’ve had moments. Let’s say a song like “Da Butt.” That was one of the biggest moments, but you also had Spike Lee and them connected with that situation. I tell people all the time, “Da Butt” was a great record…great record, but had it not been for the machine, it probably have gotten as big as it had. EU got records hotter than that.”
But, can “The Beat Don’t Stop” help push Go-Go to the top again?
“I think this documentary can be a part of it, but it’s up to the group’s to get into the studio and make original material,” DJ Kool said.
“The Beat Don’t Stop” airs Sunday, June 21 at 8/7C.