In recent memory, some of the most entertaining and influential music moments have come from viral social media sound bites rather than the actual work artists are creating. Last fall I wrote about an Instagram rant by Baltimore native comedian Jess Hilarious that inspired OG Baltimore club producer DJ Boo Man to take her hometown-praising clip and turn it into a textbook, vulgar and hilarious hard hitter reminiscent of some of the genre's iconic eras. Over the Memorial Day weekend — just an hour south of Baltimore — another viral moment was given the remix treatment when a series of Instagram stories from D.C. rapper Shy Glizzy were scoped out by 24-year-old go-go producer Eddie Ambition.
Last week, rapper and former Glizzy affiliate Young Jose released a song in which he took shots at Shy, saying that the Southeast D.C. rapper was barred from returning to his home neighborhood of 37th St. The song made local waves, leaving fans to wonder if Glizzy would respond through song. Despite the warnings from Jose, Glizzy decided to pull back up to the neighborhood and document parts of the trip. In the series of videos, he hilariously referenced classic Soulja Boy antics ("Niggas said Glizzy can't come to the hood"), flashed his Richard Millie watch, and had the local ice cream lady proclaim that he ran the neighborhood.
Much like Jose's song, Glizzy's IG posts were circulated throughout the DMV area and two days later, local go-go producer Eddie Ambition released "Who Run 37th," a pounding track that uses Shy's vocals, along with clips from people reacting on the internet. The three-minute track starts off with clips from local Youtube personality DMV Hoodz and News's post about the ordeal. It then goes full force, bringing in the genre's heavily-cherished timbales before looping Glizzy's aforementioned flex throughout. The song's title is the exact question Glizzy asked the ice cream truck driver — which is also looped throughout the track.
The song is not only something of note because of its sonic qualities, but it also suggests a new potential shift in the way go-go is approached by young producers in the DMV. From its inception, go-go has made its mark by adding a funky, localized twist to already-popular tracks from nationally-recognized artists. But what distinguishes Eddie Ambition's approach to "Who Run 37th" is that go-go tracks are hardly — if ever — built solely from viral sound bites. It's a concept that Ambition first toyed around with in late 2017.
“I gotta credit DMV Hoodz and News because he started it with the 'Chicken Nugget' little remix we did at first," Ambition said during a recent phone call. In 2017, a video of DC-area teens cracking jokes on a police officer (most notably comparing his bald head to a chicken nugget) went viral and Ambition was pushed to make something of it. "He told me one time, I think that right there can be your wave. You taking these clips and chopping them up on a go-go beat could be something that’ll work for you. After he told me that, I was doing regular remixes still. Then I did the Shy Glizzy joint and I was like Ok, you probably was right."
The timing for a track like this couldn't be much more aligned either. For the past two months, Black residents of the D.C. Metropolitan Area have been organizing peaceful protests in the form of go-go concerts to combat complaints from transplants. One of the main worries typically expressed online from the community is that there is a fear that — due to a combination of gentrification and kids being more attracted to rap now — young people will not appreciate or value go-go the way previous generations have. But with the foundation of "Chicken Nugget" and "Who Run 37th" being IG videos that young kids were already engaging with, there's a significant amount of promise. It also doesn't hurt that Ambition remixes songs from rising DMV artists, like popular teen rapper Xanman.
“This would be the most reception [I've ever gotten] in a short amount of time for sure,” Ambition said. “With the youth, I definitely noticed it was a lot of young people that was making this move. The older people came later — like 12 and 13 year olds. That was a fear for me, that the younger generation wouldn’t know about go-go or forget about it.” What makes "Who Run 37th" such a rewarding experience of a listen is that it directly speaks to a base of people who recognize what it references immediately, which feeds into the insulated and highly-protective nature of go-go anyway. Now, the youth may have a new blueprint on how to extend the life of the genre on their own terms.