Go-go is a subgenre associated with funk that originated in the Washington, D.C., area during the mid-1960s to late-'70s. It remains primarily popular in the area as a uniquely regional music style. A great number of bands contributed to the early evolution of the genre, but The Young Senators, Black Heat, and singer-guitarist Chuck Brown and The Soul Searchers are credited with having developed most of the hallmarks of the style.
Inspired by artists such as the groups formerly mentioned, Go-go is a blend of funk, rhythm and blues, and early hip-hop, with a focus on lo-fi percussion instruments and funk-style jamming in place of dance tracks, although some sampling is used. As such, it is primarily a dance hall music with an emphasis on live audience call and response. Go-go rhythms are also incorporated into street percussion.
In technical terms, "Go-go's essential beat is characterized by a syncopated, dotted rhythm that consists of a series of quarter and eighth notes (quarter, eighth, quarter, (space/held briefly), quarter, eighth, quarter)… which is underscored most dramatically by the bass drum and snare drum, and the hi-hat… [and] is ornamented by the other percussion instruments, especially by the conga drums, timbales, and hand-held cowbells."
Unique to Go-Go is an instrumentation with 3 standard Congas and 2 "Junior Congas", 8" and 9" wide and about half as tall as the standard Congas, a size rare outside of Go-Go. They were introduced to Rare Essence by Tyrone Williams -aka- Jungle Boogie in the early days when they couldn't afford enough full sized Congas, and are ubiquitous ever since. A swing rhythm is often implied (if not explicitly stated).