Rare Essence

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Rare Essence
Origin Washington, D.C., United States
Genres Go-go
Years active 1976–present
Labels Groove Records, PolyGram Records,Uptown/MCA Records, Sounds of the Capital Records, Rare One Records
Website http://www.rareessence.com/

Andre(Whiteboy)Johnson, James(Jas.Funk)Thomas, Charles(Shorty Corleone)Garris, Darrell(Blue-eye)Arrington, Leroy(RB)Battle Jr, Calvin(Killa Cal)Henry, Quentin(Shorty Dud)Ivey, Kenecia(Keke)Taylor,

Robert(Foxy Rob)Green
Past members Quentin "Footz" Davidson[1]
Meshell Ndegeocello[2]
Anthony "Little Benny" Harley

Rare Essence is an American go-go band from Washington, D.C.


From Foundation to 2000

The band developed when four childhood friends: Quentin "Footz" Davidson, Andre "Whiteboy" Johnson, Michael "Funky Ned" Neal and John Jones decided to form a go-go band. After school, the four young musicians gathered together and play top forty hits from such influential bands like Parliament/Funkadelic, Cameo, and Confunkshun in basements. Eventually, the band adapted more players and conformed to the go-go style and sound, which started in 1976. One such player would grow up to be one of the most dynamic and influential performers on the go go scene. Anthony"Lil Benny" Harley was on the way home from his weekly trumpet lesson when he heard the sound of a band coming from a nearby apartment building. After a brief audition,in which he performed the intro to Kool & The Gang's "Hollywood Swinging", he was asked to join on the spot. It was at that time that the band called on the assistance of Quentin's mother, Annie Mack, who became the band's first manager. Today, Rare Essence consists of 12 musicians, who play a range of instruments from the timbales to the bass guitar. They play up to six nights a week, travelling throughout the country.

Rare Essence accomplished noteworthy successful hits as "Body Moves", the hit album Live at Breeze's Metro Club, and the single "Lock-It" which was featured on the Strictly Business film soundtrack. The band's most successful single, "Work the Walls", reached #68 in the US Billboard R&B chart.

In 1993, Rare Essence had a deal with Andre Harrell, the president of Uptown Records, signed the group through Sean Combs, a song on the "Strictly Business" soundtrack was the result.

In 1999 Rare Essence had some controversy basis that their song “Overnight Scenario” which was copied by Jay-Z in the song “Do It Again (Put your hands up)” and was the first single from Vol.3 the Life and Times of S. Carter. There is an hour to hour account in the song “Overnight Scenario”, and “Do it again” follows the same concept.[3] For example, Rare Essence's line was “Three in the Morning the Pancake House” while Jay-Z said “4 AM at the Waffle House”. The question was whether or not the problem should be called plagiarism or just similar concept. The group had been performing the song for most of the late 1990s and was very concerned about the copyright infringement that seemingly took place. Jay – Z’s defense was that go–go music is just remakes of other artists’ songs.

In 2009, Rare Essence performed at one of the inaugural balls. In 2012, the group collaborated with the Soul Rebels Brass Band during a Tribute to Chuck Brown on June 21, 2012 in Washington DC at the historic Howard Theatre which is re-opened in April 2012. Slick Rick was also on the tribute show.[4]

Notable Members

Quentin(Footz)Davidson was murdered on September 17,1994. He was 33 years old.

Band member Anthony (Little Benny) Harley died on May 30, 2010 in Washington, D.C. He was 46 years old.[5]


  1. ^ Jeter, Jon (1994-09-20). "Go-Go music pioneer Footz Davidson is found shot to death on P.G. road". The Washington Post. p. b.04. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  2. ^ Wiltz, Teresa (2005-06-19). "Meshell Ndegeocello Breaks Step With Pop". Washington Post. pp. N01. .
  3. ^ “More money, more problems”.the411online.com.Date accessed: May 10, 2011.
  4. ^ "Soul Rebels at the Howard Theatre". Retrieved 7 April 2012. 
  5. ^ Thedeadrockstarsclub.com - accessed May 2010

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