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District Mourns Loss of Godfather of Go-Go Chuck Brown

Shantella Y. Sherman | , WI Staff Writer | 5/23/2012, 12:03 p.m.

DJ Kool said that he admired Brown's ability to keep the beat going and not give up, especially when the mainstream music industry was not particularly fond of Go-Go or its artists.

"Chuck told me about his early career when he and the band played in joints for all the chicken they could eat and all the beer they could drink, but no money. I had the exact same types of situations where I played for no money; it wasn't for chicken and beer, but for not much more than that. I learned to press on anyway because of what Chuck taught me. He had an appreciation, respect and a crazy amount of love for people. A lot of people are broken-hearted and worry that no radio stations will play our music now," DJ Kool said.

District native and beloved songstress Stacey Lattisaw believes Brown's legendary style and personal swag helped transition Go-Go music from a local street sound to a legitimate and respected genre, enjoyed worldwide.

"Folks are on Twitter in New York and Down South discussing the impact Chuck made on the music world. It is important for people to understand that an artist can be talented, gifted and successful, but their true legacy is their character. Chuck was a nice person; he didn't have an ego. Not one time in all of his career have I ever heard a single negative thing about Chuck. My heart goes out to his kids, his wife, and his whole family," Lattisaw said.

Comedian Chris Thomas concurred, comparing Brown's musical genius to that of late jazz legend Miles Davis saying he symbolized the spirit of a true artist.

"Chuck Brown was the epitome of what real musicianship is. Not only did he produce several decades of good music, but he was also the ambassador of the city and what it stood for. Losing Chuck is like losing rhythm itself," Thomas said. "So much of Chuck was spiritual - the whole practice of shouting out people's names during his songs - it was not just performance, I was spiritual."

Brown certainly made a lasting impression on all who met him. For hip-hop lyricist Big Daddy Kane, sharing the stage with Brown during the Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage Cruise two years ago was life-changing. At his passing, Kane immediately tweeted, "Go-Go will never be the same."

"Chuck was such an innovator because he was able to combine different forms a music and new ways for soul, R&B, and hip hop artists to collaborate. I knew he was a phenomenal man when he pulled off a live, Go-Go remake of Smooth Operator," Kane told the Informer. Chuck's passing is the type of thing --- let me keep it 100 - I'm looking at the coverage of Donna Summer and the Kennedy girl, who died making national news. That may not happen for Chuck Brown nationally, but D.C. will not let him go like that. He is gone, but never forgotten and D.C. will celebrate him every year because he wasn't just a Go-Go artist or performer, he was a creator."