When news spread that Washington, D.C. legend Chuck Brown died, May 16, of pneumonia at the age of 75, it didn’t take long for just about everyone familiar with the area to express their respect and condolences for the “godfather of Go-Go.” Famous musicians, actors, comedians and even politicians; they all took to Twitter to give a special shout-out to the creator and originator of D.C’s unique music genre.

“RIP to the legend…Chuck Brown. You will be missed worldwide. #DCorNothing,” said star rapper Wale Folarin, via his Twitter account. Wale has emerged over the last few years as the most famous rapper/hip-hop artist to come from the D.C. Metropolitan area. But even he would tell you that his star status dims in comparison to Chuck Brown, perhaps the greatest music star in the history of the District.

“Chuck Brown, the ‘Godfather of Go-Go,’ will be missed,” said prominent intellectual and activist Cornel West, from Twitter. “This brother had a deep love for humanity as expressed through his musical genius.”

A native of Gaston, N.C., Brown moved to the D.C.-area during the 1970s where he would eventually mix the sounds of funk, jazz and Latin music to develop the sound of go-go. His single, “Bustin’ Loose,” is easily the most renowned song he’s created; the single peaked at 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 R&B charts in 1979. No other go-go song has come close to surpassing “Bustin’ Loose” since.
“My heart hurts, man, I love Chuck Brown,” said Anwan “Big G” Glover, lead vocalist for the legendary Backyard Band.

Glover credits Brown as his primary inspiration for becoming a go-go artist. Glover, who has a very deep voice much like Brown, took to and adopted the call-and-response style of communication that the “godfather” would use to interact with his audience throughout performances. Glover said during an interview with 93.9 FM WKYS radio station that Brown passed the torch on to him to keep the legacy of go-go alive and well.

“He told me it’s the young guys that have to carry on his legacy and keep the music genre that he created going,” explained Glover, who said he began crying as soon as he found out via text of Brown’s death. “And it’s not just me, it’s the younger guys from bands like TOB. ‘Pops’ loved all of the young guys and how they continued to revolutionize his music. And we will all miss him so much.”

But it’s not just the musicians that followed in Brown’s footsteps who will miss the music icon. The people of the district who partied to go-go music for more than 40-years will miss him too.

“Chuck laid the foundation that four different generations of Washingtonians were able to celebrate and party to,” said Tony Lewis Jr., a well-connected and respected community activist in D.C., who helped plan a vigil for Brown on Chuck Brown Way near Howard University. “Chuck’s death for me symbolizes a D.C. that is slowly dying off. Young people we have to hold on to that, now more than ever. D.C. or nothing!”