Updated: Jul 18

Go - go music has been known worldwide as the unofficial music of the Washington D.C. metro area for more than four decades. In 2020, Mayor Muriel Bowser signed a bill designating the genre as the official sound of the Nation’s Capital. While go - go thrives on the element of live music, there are several studio albums that have had a lasting impact on the culture well beyond their release. Here are five of the most-impactful go - go studio albums that you can currently find on streaming platforms.

Northeast Groovers - Straight From The Basement (1994)

You can’t tell the history of go - go without mentioning Northeast Groovers, who shot onto the scene in the late 1980’s. Often referred to as N.E.G, The Groovers were a steady force on the go - go scene by the time 1994 came around. Lead mic Christian “Rah Rah” Black is a charismatic frontman backed by a powerhouse music section “The Symphony” aa dynamic percussion section “The Posse” and a legendary front line of vocalists rounded out by rapper David “32” Ellis and singer Leonard “Hugg” Huggins. The group’s seminal album, “Straight From The Basement” was produced by legendary go - go figure Reo Edwards for his Future Records label. The band recorded studio versions of some of their hit songs like “Van Damme” and “The Water” at Edwards’ Landover studio. The thirteen-track album was released on New Years Day 1994, hitting the D.C. metropolitan area by storm. Several tracks would receive immediate and lasting radio play from local powerhouse stations WPGC 95.5 and 93.9 WKYS. With a great number of local students traveling to black colleges across the eastern shoreline and the south, the Straight From The Basement album made its way to dj’s and into homes across the country. Songs like “The Twenty Minute Workout” and “Booty Call” became the soundtrack for pool parties, high school pep rallies and more. Whether you’re partying solo, cruising through the night or headed to the go - go, there’s something for everybody here. A grand introduction for those not familiar to go - go in not only the variety of styles but the creativity in creating original go - go music.

Junkyard Band - Creepin’ Thru Da Hoodz (1994)

As their name suggests, Junkyard Band got their start as kids with makeshift instruments they found around their Barry Farms neighborhood in Anacostia. From humble beginnings playing on literal pots, pans and trash cans the band emerged as frontrunners for go - go. The band became local staples before being discovered playing on a street corner as teenagers, by Rick Rubin and signing to Def Jam in 1986. That year, the band would release “Sardines” through the label helmed by Russel Simmons and Lyor Cohen., Produced by Rubin, the track (along with it’s B- Side “The Word”) became two of go - go’s biggest commercial hits. The band would appear on several tv shows and films over the course of the decade, breaking down doors for go - go. By 1994, the JYB was grown, and long-separated from their dealings with Def Jam. Creepin’ Thru Da Hoodz was the bands second release on Street Records. The cover of the album lists cities all over the nation, as well as quadrants and sections of D.C., symbolizing the plan to captivate the streets piece-by-piece. The nine-track project saw the entire project receive heavy radio play in the D.C. area and down the coast regionally, led by singles “John Wayne” and the infectious “Loose Booty”. The album closes with a tribute to late drummer Willie Irving “Heavy One” Gaston” who was murdered in 1992 in Barry Farms. To this day, you can hear this album on your local radio go - go hour or just blasting from cars on a nice day. Definitely a starting point for anyone looking to get a feel and great entrance point to what go - go is and the evolution of the sound over time. This album is raw and straight for the streets. The mixing is done well and kept simple, giving you that feeling of being in the legendary go - go clubs The Ibex or Sugar Kane Palace again; or for the first time.

Backyard Band - Skillet (1999)