ABC reports that Chuck Brown, the musician who basically invented the Washington, D.C. percussive funk subgenre go-go, died today in Washington, where he’d recently been hospitalized for pneumonia. He was 75.
Brown got his start playing with local D.C. jazz and soul bands in the ’60s, finally scoring a massive funk hit with “Bustin’ Loose” in 1979. (Nelly interpolated it on “Hot In Herre.”) But his real impact was local, where his loose, freewheeling, conga-based form of funk birthed an entire genre. For a long time, go-go remained more popular than rap in D.C., its weird pocket-universe local appeal never reaching far outside of the city’s boundaries. Hundreds of go-go bands followed Chuck Brown And The Soul Searchers, and Brown remained a local legend in the city in its environs, gigging heavily and steadily to huge crowds.
Below, watch the man at work: