Harold Stallworth came to boogie.
As a D.C. transplant and newcomer to the conga-driven sound of go-go, I’m certainly not qualified to encapsulate the genre’s last 40-odd years into a 63-minute playlist. So consider this mixtape to be a haphazard collection of odds and ends rather than a definitive canonization. I was introduced to jazz by thumbing through Gangstarr liner notes. This mix, for better or worse, was born from the same school of reverse engineering. Junkyard Band does the heavy lifting here, because so many of their lo-fi PA tapes released during my formative years drew from grisly street rap, from Scarface to Mobb Deep to Eazy E.
More importantly, Big G and company were never short of brilliant ideas. For proof, defer to their 1995 performance at the Sugar Kane Palace, where they stretched Nate Dogg’s 30-second St. Ides commercial into a glorious 15-minute jam session. The classic standoff between Fat Rodney and D.C. Scorpio serves as a climactic bookend. Anyone that’s ever braved through a jerky open mic tournament in real time will appreciate the showmanship at work: the music never stops and the crowd is just as much a part of the show as the musicians and stagehands. It’s remarkable how little of the go-go experience is compromised when listening from the comfort of your home or vehicle or headphones.
1, Backyard Band & Scarface – First Light of the Day (DC Armory 1999)
2. Backyard Band – I Got 5 On It (Sugar Kane Palace 1995)
3. Junkyard Band – Sardines
4. Little Benny and The Masters – Who Comes To Boogie
5. UCB – Sexy Lady
6. Backyard Band – St. Ides
7. Rare Essence – Overnight Scenerio
8. Northeast Groovers – Pocket
9. Rare Essense – Whip It
10. Rare Essence & Fat Rodney – Lock It Freestyle
11. Junkyard Band – Fat Rodney vs. D.C. Scorpio (Barry Farms 1988)