Mambo Sauce
The Recipe
(Mambo Sauce Ent.: 2009)

I was fully prepared to type some elaborate introduction about how Mambo
Sauce is not just a go go band, and how its long-awaited debut album, The Recipe
is truly an evolution of the DMV’s most noteworthy brand of music.
While I believe those statements are true, I felt the need to be
brutally honest: Mambo Sauce’s The Recipe is the best album
I’ve heard all year. Point blank. Period. Although the LP is deeply
rooted in go go, it’s much more inclusive than that, as Mambo Sauce
successfully blends soul, salsa, hip-hop and rock-n-roll into its
melting pot of sound. What cooks up is a delectable portion of musical
nourishment, suitable for listeners of all kinds and light years beyond
the standard click-clack of yesterday’s go go.

Go Go music has been used sporadically by others and has not caught on
nationally. E.U., known mainly for its song “Da Butt,” experienced some
mainstream exposure in the 1980s.
Jill Scott
utilized the sound on the single, “It’s Love,” from her debut album, Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds, Vol. 1. Most recently,
The Roots
fused go go with hip-hop on the single, “Rising Up,” from its last year’s Rising Down album. That song included Wale, a rising star from the DMV region who has blended go go into some of his work. With The Recipe, Mambo Sauce aims to make the music universal. But don’t just take my
word for it. “We saturate all forms of music in this go go foundation,
and we make it all original, what a hell of a creation,” Mambo Sauce
vocalist Black Boo says on “Letter to Go Go,” the album’s intro.

The Recipe continues with the high energy “Welcome To D.C.,”
which serves as a musical tour guide for those unfamiliar with the
city’s history. On this song, Black rhymes about D.C.’s fashion
(Madness hats), “or how the city re-named cigarettes ‘jacks,’ or how,
even the mayor had a run-in with crack, but we all kept it real and we
voted him back.” The fervor continues on electric guitar-tinged “Long
Time Coming,” where Black and vocalist Joi “JC” Carter sing about
surviving life’s obstacles and moving past negativity.

The pace slows somewhat on the sincere and heartfelt, “Things Will Get
Better,” which features DMV native Deangelo Redman from Diddy’s “Making
the Band” show. This track is about staying the course when life gets
rough. On “Work,” punctuated by the full-fledged go go jam session at
the end of the track, Black weighs a potential relationship against
advancing his career.

“No Sleep” is the album’s centerpiece, in my opinion. From musical
director Chris Wright’s first tap of the keys to Jermaine “Pep” Cole
and Patricia “Twink” Little’s percussion, this song is hard-edged rock
with the message of hustling until you have nothing left to give.
“Sweet Baby” is a dedication to the world’s single mothers. The Recipe
never lags, and by album’s end, Mambo Sauce hits hard with the “Welcome
to D.C. Remix,” which features Wale, Tabi Bonney, Don Choo and Big G.

Although Mambo Sauce has generated a definite buzz in the DMV, The Recipe
has the potential to catapult the group to worldwide commercial appeal.
Go go has always been specific to the District, but it seems that Mambo
Sauce is trying hard to break the music out of its regional shell.
Either way, the group has prepared a delicious treat, and The Recipe has the right recipe for success.

-Marcus Moore

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