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Some celebrity endorsements are more convincing than others.
And then there is Snoop Dogg’s recent go-go plug, an Instagram video posted early last week in which Uncle Snoop, seated in a car with blunt blazing, cranks to Rare Essence’s go-go classic, “Hey Buddy Buddy.”
While Snoop does not identify RE or even go-go by name, he gets the geography mostly right: “Shout out to all my folks in D.C., Chocolate City, Baltimore area….yeah.”
The minute of “Hey Buddy Buddy” heard on the clip is off Rare Essence’s 2002 album, Doin it Old School Style—Live at Club U. We hear lead talker James “Funk” Thomas ask the crowd, “Aw, you ready now, ain’t you?” and Snoop is ready for sure: He nods to the beat and repeats after Funk, “Aw, you ready now, ain’t you?”
And then, as a fusillade of percussion takes over, Snoop blows smoke in crankified bliss before paying tribute to someone he does not ID beyond a first name, “Rest in peace, Carlos.”
Rare Essence guitarist and bandleader Andre “Whiteboy” Johnson became aware of the clip last Monday afternoon. “Initially, I thought someone had edited the video and put Snoop in it,” he says. But once Snoop repeated Funk’s words, Whiteboy realized this was not a doctored clip. “That’s when I was like, wow, he’s actually listening to this. It’s real exciting to see someone of that level jamming to your music and really enjoying it.”
The initial reaction of James “Funk” Thomas was also one of disbelief. “When I first saw it, I really had to look and make sure it was Snoop himself,” says Funk. “There’s a dude around here that kinda fakes Snoop, and he favors Snoop a little bit, so I had to make sure it wasn’t him.”
But for attentive music fans, Snoop’s go-go love comes as no surprise. “This was not the first time that Snoop has expressed his admiration for go-go,” says go-go historian Kato Hammond. Snoop has praised the Unsung episode on Chuck Brown and expressed support for EU in particular for that band’s struggle with Virgin Records, observing that “go-go don’t get the love and respect it deserve.” Hammond also cites a more recent example. “There’s a clip for the BET Awards when they were rehearsing Tye Tribbett, and a lot of his music is straight-up pure gospel go-go,” he says. “The band was cranking go-go hard, and Snoop was dancing like crazy, like he’s partying at the go-go.”
Snoop’s “Hey Buddy Buddy” video has prompted thousands of comments on social media. More than a few go-go diehards are annoyed that he included Baltimore in his shout-out, while others are gratified by the recognition.
“Some folks don’t believe the sound is outside the DMV, but go-go is out there, especially in these big cities,” says Funk. “Maybe go-go is not in the mainstream, but it’s definitely being played underground out there in neighborhoods that are banging it.”
Snoop has dabbled in various genres, including reggae and gospel, leaving go-go fans to wonder whether he will be recording a go-go album anytime soon. “What I would love to see is for this to become a wakeup call for go-go,” says Hammond. “This might be the right time to hook up with Snoop and do a go-go project before he decides to do one himself.”
So is anything in the works?
“I’ve got nothing to tell just yet,” says Whiteboy. “How cool would a Snoop Dogg/Rare Essence collaboration be? I just want to pose that question.”