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When it comes to go-go, DJRico Scott is all in: Tattoos representing Rare Essence, Northeast Groovers, and Backyard Band cover his right arm, the WHAT?! Band’s question mark is inked on his left arm, and Junkyard Band decorates his left leg.
So when he planned an all-go-go live stream last weekend, he committed to a 12-hour set, because, well, there’s a lot of go-go out there. He started at 7 p.m. Sunday evening with Pure Elegance’s “Is Ya With Me,” and closed Monday morning at 7 a.m. with the Team Familiar cover of Sly & The Family Stone’s “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin),” with all 12 hours streaming via Instagram and Facebook.
“It was a challenge that I set for myself, just for the hell of it,” says Scott. “It was crazy, and it was great.”
In the past, Scott has organized marathon DJ sets as benefits, collaborating with colleagues to raise hurricane relief money for people in the Bahamas and Texas. This time was not about fundraising; it was about music and uplifting his community. “There are a lot of go-go bands and a lot of music that these bands have created that people don’t know about,” says Scott. “I wanted to shine a light on our #DontMuteDC movement and let it be known that go-go is here, and we’re suffering with the bands not being able to perform.”
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Rico, who is currently sheltering in place in his suburban Maryland house along with his wife, his sister, his mother, and his wife’s mother, played the set in his home office.
His epic set spanned more than 40 years of go-go, including the classic ’80s sound and later subgenres like grown ‘n’ sexy and bounce beat. And while he never got to the gospel go-go bands, he did include Chuck Brown’s version of “Can’t Nobody Do Me But Jesus,” the gospel classic by Andraé Crouch. “I never played anything twice, and I still didn’t get to play everybody,” Scott says. “There’s a lot more music that I couldn’t get to.”
As for how many people viewed the stream, Scott says, “I think it’s safe to say 5,000-plus, with people coming and going. I had some people that stayed on from the time that I started ’til the end. And a lot of folks were even listening while they went to sleep, and when they got up in the morning, they said they felt themselves tapping their foot while they were asleep.”
For inquisitive readers, Scott reports that he did not use the bathroom even once during his go-go marathon, nor did he consume any snacks. He drank three 1.5 liter bottles of alkaline water, and exactly three shots of Crown Royal apple-flavored whiskey. “Condition-wise, I started getting little cramps and body pains around about the 11th hour, but I stayed with it,” he says. “I definitely paid for it for a few days afterward.”
Scott, who was born and raised in Southeast D.C. and graduated from Oxon Hill High School, has been going to go-gos since forever. By age 13, he was sneaking out of the house to help set up sound for Little Benny & the Masters at the old Cheriy’s club in Southwest. Scott learned how to run sound from legendary go-go engineers Moe Gentry, Reo Edwards, and Charlie Fenwick, and engineered shows by RE and other bands before moving into radio. During his 30 years on the airwaves, he has been a staple on WJFK-AM, “Flava 1580,” WPGC 95.5-FM, and Majic WMMJ 102.3-FM – 92.7, where he currently is with Donnie Simpson and Vic Jagger and spins his own Friday night Noisemaker Nation show.
He’s planning more go-go live streams, possibly another set this Saturday night. “So many people were jumping on, shouting out, showing love and responding to the music with their comments,” he says. “That live stream was just as good as being in the club on Sunday night.”
Of course Scott is not the only figure in the go-go community who is reaching out to fans during this uncertain period. So far this month, a number of bands have live streamed shows, including Backyard Band, Rare Essence, Junkyard Band, Black Alley, Still Familiar, and Suttle. Backyard will live stream a performance of its 2016 album Street Antidote tonight, and a number of other bands are planning upcoming streams. Also, Still Familiar just released “Quarantine Crank,” its recording of last weekend’s cranking live stream.
Meanwhile, D.C.-based percussionist Malik DOPE Drummer has released “The Quarantine Song,” a short trap-driven hip-hop track currently on SoundCloud and YouTube and coming to all platforms shortly. With its catchy refrain, “You could catch me inside, I ain’t going outside,” the track sends a clear message. “I wanted to spread awareness about the coronavirus, but I wanted to do it in a cool and fun way that youth could digest,” says Malik.
Malik has posted a choreographed handwashing “#QuarantineCleanChallenge” on TikTok, and he’s hoping that the video challenge will promote safe hygiene and physical distancing among teens who may not prioritize caution in this coronavirus era. “My goal is for people to respond and participate by washing their hands in a cool way and posting that,” he says. “There are all types of different challenges. This one challenges people to do something to help themselves and the world.”
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