Anybody who's ever heard a track by Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers knows the deep power of go-go, that mighty blend of pure funk and raw soul that could come only from the streets of D.C. It's a heady mix of down-low and way-up-on-high that brings to mind nothing so much as the party of your life.
So it stands to damned good reason that DJ D-Up calls what he does simply "party music." After all, the cat was born in our nation's capital. Better yet, his pops was a DJ too, back in the proverbial day. Which means D-Up has had that throwdown sound ground into him from the cradle to the streets.
Thank Zeus our first president's namesake city doesn't have the juice of the M.I.A., 'cause otherwise, D-Up might not be here bringing all of our party people to life. Dig it: As a teen, D-Up would sneak into clubs and catch what who-knows-who was pushing. Then he'd go home to his basement and push it further, farther, and deeper. Once he got to college at the University of Virginia, he turned those skills into a residency at Soccer House, the fratlike hangout of the team to which he belonged. Thing about it is, D-Up found himself better-suited to the turntables than the field, so he started slipping back across the Potomac and into the night.
Before long, every hot spot in D.C. ended up having him spin: Play Lounge, Saki, Josephine's, Club Five, Andalu, Fly Lounge, Kstreet, 1223, Eyebar, and Tattoo among them. Eventually D-Up ran out of dance floors to conquer and headed down South.
Quick cut to now: Saturdays at the Delano hotel's infamous Rose Bar, where the parade of wildlife is as colorful as an early 20th-century promenade on Easter Sunday. Sure, there are a few tourists in shorts, as well as the odd cross-causeway interloper. But for some reason, even they turn almost hip when they fall under the sway of D-Up's head-spinning. As he says, it's party music, so you don't need instructions to get with it. It does help, though, to have an open mind and an open soul.
Then again, it's not hard to open up to the Jungle Brothers crossed with Common or the Pharcyde's "Passing Me By" running into Pitbull's "Whoop T Whoop." Maybe that's why Mokai has also begun putting D-Up on the tables once a month or so and why swank spots such as the Shore Club and Bella Rose have had him handle the action as well. Sometimes it pays to go where go-go has gone, and where all good parties end up — with a DJ named D-Up.
DJ D-Up's current top five:
1. "Universal Mind Control," Common
2. "Paranoid," Kanye West
3. "Whoop T Whoop," Pitbull
4. "Greenlight," John Legend featuring Andre 3000
5. "Listen Up," EPMD