T.R.J Releases Newest Album GO-GO Soul A Trouble Funk Project
Although Black Music Month (June) is behind us, the Black Music Culture is still booming more than ever, because artists like the founding members from iconic group, Trouble Funk, keeps "Pump! Pump! Pumping it Up!"
Trouble Funk is touted as the originators that helped to create and carve out a distinct sound for GO-GO music, after Chuck Brown announced the genre in the 1960’s.
Trouble Funk, took it to a cellular level with their brassy instrumentals much like the marching bands in New Orleans, to include more flavorful jazz and hip-hop. To no suprise, the innovators are still touring and refashioning GO-GO till this day.
Trouble Funk formed in 1978 but didn’t release their first album until signing to Sugar Hill Records with commercialized singles "Pump Me Up, " and "Drop The Bomb. The songs dominated airwaves with their superior compounds of Hip-hop and GO-GO.
Both Taylor “Monster” Reed and James “Doc” Avery speak passionately about the earlier times. They enjoy making feel-good songs like they did when they were younger. There's no short supply on evocative music. So, while they continue to play oldie but goodies with the original band, Reed and Avery released new music from their their secondary group, T.R.J and Long Sleeve Steve.
The group is hybrid GO-GO music, reminiscent to tones from the 80’s, but with pertinent wordplay, to tell stories about the here and now.
“We are the original members of Trouble Funk. We started the group back in 1978, myself, my brother, Big Tony, James, and one other guy,” says Reed. “So, Trouble Funk has been in the business for a good while. We’ve toured all over the world as far as Trouble Funk, “Pump me Up,” Drop the Bomb,” and all that; then recently the past year and a half, two years, we kinda created another group out of that. That’s why the album is called Go-Go Soul Project, and T.R.J was another group we created out of Trouble Funk.”
Long Sleeve Steve, MD native, is the newest attribution to the group, who’s nephew to Taylor Reed. Long Sleeve Steve became the newest member subsequently after Robert “Syke Dyke” Reed (keyboard player), passed away in 2008.
Long Sleeve hit the rap scene close to 10-years ago, and he’s toured with Trouble Funk, before joining T.R.J. So, he comes with lyrical experience, stage presence, added perspective, to help T.R.J make groundbreaking hits like before.
“If we go back to the beginning, Trouble Funk is a hardcore Go-Go band, we along with Chuck Brown, EU, and Rare Essence, we originated Go-Go music here in D.C,” explains James Avery when asked about the different styles that the Trouble Funk group shares with Long Sleeve Steve. “So, that’s the backstory to that; and what we decided to do in forming T.RJ— One of the things is that Go-Go has been… we were the first group to take Go-Go international.”
Trouble Funk signed with Sugar Hill Records, to integrate GO-GO into hip-hop. This included tours with Grandmaster Flash, Run DMC, and L.L Cool J, to name a few acts. The song “Pump Me Up,” is the most sampled in the hip hop community from the Golden era.
Trouble Funk toured globally—they are broadly recognized as the group that helped to establish the sound for the genre which earned them a seat inside the D.C Hip Hop Museum where the group was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Avery said that while hip hop and R&B acclimated, to hit mainstream and terrestrial radio, GO-GO music is centric to the core. Although GO-GO is popular, the genre is restrained compared to the other categories… "So, what we decided to do with T.R.J we decided to take go-go, and take that back beat, and put it on top of regular formatted music that has lyrical structure. In this first tune, you’ll hear Walk it Down, Steve, rapping in this song on top of go-go music, so that was the desire to have original music that Taylor and I wrote—no samples and all that. This is original music that we wrote and original rap music that Steve put on top of it, and it still has that original go-go feel."
"Walk it Down,'' is the newest single from GO-GO Soul, a Trouble Funk collective with 8 tracks. It’s a maverick, taking claim in the mainstream, with lyrics from Long Sleeve Steve. The artist pays homage to Washington D.C, while acknowledging other cities and states that prompts like an energized anthem with blaring horns, a soft strum from the bass, and raps on the percussions.
Music from Long Sleeve Steve tracks back to 2012 on YouTube from greenhorn to connoisseur. He is a rapper, that concisely belted hip hop, to compliment “Walk It Down,” its integrity, and unambiguous reverence to GO-GO music.
The buzz single from the GO-GO Soul record, is “Pull Me Up,” a good funky ballad that’s combining island annotations, and cheery GO-GO vibes through medley. The song is about rapport, and lending a helping hand just like the lyrics go, “Pull me up when I fall down.” The lyrics is written and performed by T.R.J while the next buzzer, which is a solid banger for radio play, "Southeast Parking Lot," which conjoins lyrics from Long Sleeve Steve, and Taylor Reed, bearing instrumentals by T.R.J.
Avery explained the inspiration behind the newest album… "It's an eight song album, and the impetus for this was that, we wanted to invite the Trouble Funk Members to contribute songs to this project, and on this particular album,Taylor and I wrote most of it, but you have a song contributed from the trumpet player, Dean Harris on the one called, Young Man Don't Run. We have Keep on David, playing percussion, who's an original Trouble Funk Member. We have Chester Davis who is the original guitar player from Trouble Funk, playing guitar on it. We invited everybody to contribute to it, all the Trouble Funk members to contribute to the project."
Avery goes on to say that they plan to release a three-album collection with GO-GO Soul as the first installment... "This was the one that was more radio oriented, dance music oriented. We're also going to put some hard care GO-GO like the olden days of Drop the Bomb and Pump Me Up on the second album, and then we'll do a third album also."
Listen to the interview and learn more about the group, their golden nuggets while they talk about the business of music as well as their upcoming projects.