Hip hop icon Doug E. Fresh has just released a new collection of music, This One’s For Chuck Brown, a salute to the godfather of Go-Go Music. This marks Fresh’s first full length release since 1995.
Stemming out of Washington, D.C., Go-Go music erupted in the ‘70’s though went on to gain greater national exposure. Brown was not only a local legend, but a musical pioneer who scored a 1979 top 10 R&B hit with “Bustin’ Loose,” later sampled by rapper Nelly in his 2002 chart-topping, Grammy-winning single, “Hot in Herre.”
Brown went on to inspire many, including Fresh, who took the unforeseen time offstage due to the 2020 lockdown to work on this self-proclaimed “passion project.” This One’s For Chuck is a salute to one of Fresh’s late musical mentors, but it also served as a therapeutic reprieve from the tumult of recent times. It’s a means to sonically transport listeners to happier times and unite hip-hop and go-go audiences. Recently, the Recording Academy announced that the Go-Go genre has been added as a Grammy sub-category.
The album kicks off with “Chuck Brown,” an audio history lesson of Brown’s significance, and seamlessly weaves a mixture of original recordings and go-go renditions of some of his own hip-hop fan-favorites. Elsewhere on the album, he delivers new, live versions of “Play This Only at Night,” “Come Again, and “The Show,” re-imagined with go-go instrumentation, recorded live in Washington, DC. “The Show” features a guest appearance by Fresh’s longtime friend and one-time beatbox mentee-turned-lovable hip-hop great, the recently departed Biz Markie.
Fresh has been adapting various elements of Brown’s unique call-and-response performance style into his live shows since the two first met in 1985 when Brown’s band was the opening act at a DC arena Fresh headlined. Peering from behind the curtain, Fresh became entranced by Brown’s band’s tribal groove and the rhythmic interplay between the drummer, conga player, and other percussionists, which ebbed and flowed as Brown and other vocalists engaged with the audience for a fully immersive, communal celebration. Given Fresh’s innate ability to mimic various drum patterns with his mouth, he instinctively took to the DC go-go scene, often performing with Chuck Brown and other local bands, even releasing his own 1988 go-go classic, “I’m Getting Ready,” which remains in regular rotation across DC radio.
Harlem born, but globally recognized as the Original Human Beatbox, Fresh has amassed countless awards for his mesmerizing beatbox abilities, catchy rhymes, signature dance moves, and masterful command of audiences. His popularity spans generations. Nearly a dozen millennial rappers have written songs in tribute to him, most notably the 2009 breakout hit “Teach Me How to Dougie,” which spawned the international “Dougie” dance craze, a nod to moves Fresh created in the 80s.
Fresh’s career has remained active for nearly four decades, thanks, in part, to his cultural classics “The Show” and “La Di Da Di,” both released in the mid 1980’s. To date, “La Di Da Di” holds the unique honor as one of the top five most sampled songs of all time, with use by Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Miley Cyrus, the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Will Smith, Snoop Dogg, the Notorious B.I.G, and more than 1000 other artists (according to a 2019 Wall Street Journal report).
Check out This One’s For Chuck Brown by Doug E. Fresh below: