Rare Essence, Washington’s premier Go-Go band for more than four decades is a DC institution that has built a devoted fan base that spans multiple generations, drawn to the indigenous funk sired in the mid ’70s by the late Godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown.
Rare Essence would be one of Brown’s earliest, and have remained his most enduring, progeny, with a consistently combustible live show honed through countless performances in the Washington region. Go-Go thrives live and that’s where reputations, and legacies, are cemented.
As the Washington Post noted in a 2010 review, “….this band has performed more than 5,000 times. Like so many Rare Essence concerts, it’s easy to believe you’re seeing the best one.”
Little wonder they were dubbed “TheWickedest Band Alive” by rap pioneer Doug E. Fresh, who has collaborated with Rare Essence, one of many artists to incorporate Go-Go’s percolating percussion, and some of its key players, into their own recordings.
Over the years, many great musicians have been part of Rare Essence, with several going on to form their own bands, including Little Benny and the Masters. A 30th anniversary concert featured close to 30 musicians associated with the band.
They have performed with Run DMC, Wale, DJ Kool, LL Cool J, Doug E. Fresh, Biz Markie, Ice Cube, Heavy D and the Boyz, Wu Tang Clan, Redman and Method Man, French Montana, Scarface, TLC, Eric B and Rakim, YoYo, Shabba Ranks, The Roots, Erykah Badu, Thievery Corporation, KRS-1 not to mention Chuck Brown, Trouble Funk, The Junk Yard Band, & EU.
While no two shows are alike, music lovers new to the Go-Go experience and Rare Essence sound will quickly feel at ease among an allegiance of loyal fans chanting along to hits like “Lock It,” “One On One,” “Hey Buddy Buddy,” and the ever popular “Overnight Scenario,” which is covered by Fantasia all over the country.
Also lovingly known by fans as RE, “the Inner City Groovers”, or Essence (if you are from DC), you can’t help but know who “the Wickedest Band Alive” is and that you gotta be there to experience the party in person!