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MP3 Go-Go Mickey - It Gets No Rougher

Milton "Go-Go Mickey" Freeman has been a DC Go-Go legend for more than 20 years and is known for his fast hands on congas and for his raw beats that have become a staple for many local conga players.

10 MP3 Songs in this album (37:08) !
Related styles: URBAN/R&B: Go-Go, URBAN/R&B: Traditional R&B

Milton “Go-Go Mickey” Freeman

“There’s a cat named Mickey from out of town…” begins the Rare Essence hit song, “Go-Go Mickey,” a remake of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles “Mickey’s Monkey” that immortalized R.E.’s percussionist Milton “Go-Go Mickey” Freeman. Freeman has become a DC Go-Go legend and is known for his fast hands on congas and for his raw beats that have become a staple for many area conga players. Freeman won “Congo Player of the Year” in 2006 at the first Go-Go Awards presented by Washington DC radio station WKYS, and again in 2007, keeping the Backyard Band from sweeping every category in which they were nominated. In addition, Freeman has one two individual “Wammies” from the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA) and five as a member of Rare Essence along with a spot in WAMA’s Hall of Fame.

Mickey was born and raised in Washington, DC by a musical family. His mother Chicquita was a pianist and singer and his father Milton was a guitar player and lead singer in Mickey and the Blazers, a rhythm and blues group. The elder Mickey bought his son a drum set when he was two and taught the prodigy how to play. “Like father, like son” continued when Freeman’s sons Lil’ Mickey and BJ learned to play by watching and listening to their father. BJ currently plays congas with Go-Go band Faze 2, and Lil’ Mickey is in college.

When he was 12, Freeman went to see his first go-go band, the Pump Blenders and got in trouble when he went home. Good friends with the late Quentin “Footz” Davidson (a legend in his own right), whom he used to bowl with, Freeman would go to the Coliseum and play on Footz drums. He taught himself to play congas when he was 14 after watching then Rare Essence conga player Tyrone “Jungle Boogie” Williams.

Counting percussionist and Prince protégé Sheila E. as an inspiration, Freeman was also inspired by local legends Jungle Boogie and Ricky “Sugarfoot” Wellman. He joined Reality Band in 1980 and followed that with stints in Redds & the Boys, Ayre Rayde, and several other go-go groups, before joining Essence in 1984 and rising to legend status. One local conga player likened the Jungle Boogie/Go-Go Mickey connection to that of former NBA players Dr. J and Michael Jordan. “Dr. J created a style, but Michael Jordan came in and perfected it and took it to a different level and no other ball player since Jordan has been able to do that—not even Kobe.” Another local conga player feels that Mickey’s “Been there, done that” tattoo sums things up. “Just about every beat played in go-go today is something Mickey created. The only difference is how they play it.”

Mickey released a solo, instrumental album on Liaison Records in 1991 titled “It Gets no Rougher,” and in 2008 he created No Rougher Productions. Freeman has played for several R&B and hip hop acts including: Prince Markie D, Heavy D., The Roots, Doug E. Fresh, Teddy Riley and most recently Raheem DeVaughn. He has also played with the godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown and reggae band Soljah’s of God’s Army, who he still plays with from time-to-time. He has played on numerous Rare Essence live and studio albums, and appeared on Chuck Brown’s hit 2007 album “We’re About the Business.”
With Rare Essence, Freeman appeared with rapper Ludacris for performances of his hit song “Pimpin’ all Over the World” on Jay Leno and at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards. He also appeared in Aretha Franklin’s “Jimmy Lee” video.

Go-Go Mickey can be seen performing three nights a week with Rare Essence at venues throughout the DC area. When he is not performing, Freeman is likely to pop up at local venues to catch other go-go bands and can often be persuaded to get on stage and play the congas. Currently, Freeman offers percussion lessons and is working on a project with his sons Mickey and BJ.

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