Go-go has provided the rhythm for multiple generations of D.C. natives, but it has yet to draw the sustained national attention that other regional genres of music have enjoyed over the years. With efforts such as his Black Alley-assisted remix of Jill Scott’s “Can’t Wait,” veteran producer Tone P stands poised to shift that narrative.
Tone P, a Southwest D.C. native, feels strongly about go-go’s potential to still break into the mainstream, and the role that he will play in this process. The Southwest D.C. native is widely regarded as the mastermind behind D.C.’s go-go influenced rap sound, which fueled Wale’s rise to superstardom.
He produced a number of Wale’s most notable go-go influenced records; from the infectiously energetic “Bait”, to the Backyard Band-sampling “Pretty Girls,” to the percussion driven pop-friendly sounds of “LoveHateThing.”
Despite his long discography, working with Jill has been a special moment for Tone. He explained, “I come from the old school era – Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, all the old school guys who can actually sing. Jill has PIPES. Having the opportunity to officially remix tracks from her album with go-go, a style that I grew up, with was very special to me.
He continues to find ways to make go-go more palatable to people outside of D.C. without sacrificing the unique swing of the art form by teaming up with Black Alley, a D.C. bred hybrid rock/R&B band that draws heavy influence from go-go.
This remix serves a more mellow, laid back listen in comparison to the previously released go-go remix of “Fool’s Gold” [LINK], but “Can’t Wait” does follow in the footsteps of its predecessor by allowing percussion to set the pace. Keys, guitar, and additional instrumentation follow the lead of the drums. This is a defining feature of D.C.’s homegrown art form.
It seems as though these remixes are a part of Tone’s plan to push go-go to new levels. He explained:
“For go-go to move around, these types of things have to happen. You have to show that go-go can be created in a way that will make people outside of the city accept it. Go-go isn’t limited strictly because it’s a regional thing – it’s because it’s not relatable. That’s it. Trap music is big because everybody can relate to it. The beat, the fact that other people can easily emulate it.
You can’t emulate or imitate go-go easily, because it’s a band thing. It’s a homegrown thing. If you don’t come from that swing, then you don’t learn it. You have to grow up and learn it. You can study a trap beat on YouTube or hear it on the radio. With go-go, you have to actually learn how to play instruments. If someone like me can work with bands and other people to do remixes, people will be more receptive to go-go. Hearing it in a context that they can understand changes the game.”
It feels like Tone and Black Alley are already on the way to changing the game. Keep it locked. Stream the original version of “Can’t Wait” below.