The Beat: Go Go's Fusion of Funk and Hip-Hop is unique among music titles. It is the first book to explore the social, cultural, and musical phenomenon of African-American music largely known for its spirit, its energy, and its vitality. Sometimes locally known as 'the most evolved form of funk,' it is the funkiest form of black popular music unembraced by the cultural mainstream, perhaps known as well in Europe and the Far East as it is across the United States. But Good to Go is not just about music, though music forms its core. Recognizing that music cannot be separated from the culture from which it derives, the book is equal parts black life, youth culture, local politics, the mass media, hip hop culture, urban aesthetics, entrepreneurship, and the struggles of everyday life. In short, it is a book about an expression of blackness, and a celebration and reflection of life in the black neighborhoods of Washington, D.C. and Prince Georges County, Maryland. The Beat chronicles the development and popularity of Go Go music since its evolution in the early 1970s, when Chuck Brown left a Latin band to form the seminal Go Go band Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers. His new band fused funk with disco's non-stop music ethic and added the additional percussionists that he had grown to love playing polyrhythmic Latin music. To this mixture Brown fused one of the oldest formats in black American music, call and response, which so many of his fans were familiar with from church. This unique mixture eventually became known as Go Go, and by 1979 it had gone national with Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers' 'Bustin' Loose,' the first Go Go record to hit the national charts, and 'Party Time,' with Experience Unlimited joining forces with early rap star Kurtis Blow. The Beat examines Go Go's immediate roots, and focuses on many of the key figures and institutions in go-go culture, including Chuck Brown, the music's progenitor, Trouble Funk, one of its most enduring advocates, E. U. (Experience Unlimited), Junkyard Band, Little Benny and the Masters, and Go Go Mickey. It also includes key DJs, such as Donnie Simkins, key promoters, like Ken Moore, and pioneer producers, such as Max Kidd and Maurice Shorter, as well as web sites Gogoswings.com and TMOTTGOGO.com, record labels Future Sounds and Liaison Records, and even the first and only movie dedicated to this form of music, Good to Go, a major commercial film starring Art Garfunkle and featuring performances by Chuck Brown, Trouble Funk, and EU. In addition to the narrative, the book includes a list of recommended recordings, as well as a selected list of articles concerning Go Go music published in a variety of periodicals. A CD featuring tracks by many of Go Go's key artists has been released by Liaison Records in conjunction with the publication of this book.
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