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For more than 20 years, there has been no rougher percussionist than Milton “Go-Go Mickey” Freeman. A local legend known for his lightning-fast hands, innovative grooves, and oft-imitated beats, Freeman is the sonic anchor of DC’s Rare Essence and an individual two-time Washington Area Music Association Award (“Wammie”) winner as an instrumentalist. As a member of Rare Essence, he has won an additional five Wammies and a coveted place in WAMA’s Hall of Fame. Born and raised in Washington, DC, Freeman grew up around music. His mother Chicquita was a pianist and singer. His father Milton played guitar and sang lead in his rhythm and blues group Mickey and the Blazers. Freeman was a prodigy of percussion, taking on the drums at two and the congas at 14. Inspired by the sounds of Sheila E. and the style of local legends Ricky “Sugarfoot” Wellman and Tyrone “Jungle Boogie” Williams, Freeman joined Reality Band in 1980. Following stints with Redds & the Boys and Ayre Ryde, Freeman joined his current band Rare Essence in 1984. As a member of the elite Go-Go All-Stars, the musical collective featuring the best of go-go’s best, Freeman has taken his rightful place among DC’s hottest go-go artists. He released his own instrumental album “It Gets No Rougher” on Liaison Records in 1991 and created No Rougher Productions in 2008. Freeman has played percussion with Prince Markie D, Heavy D, The Roots, Doug E. Fresh, Teddy Riley, and most recently Raheem DeVaughn. Freeman has appeared with Ludacris during performances on Jay Leno and at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards and with Aretha Franklin in her video for “Jimmy Lee.” Freeman can currently be seen at clubs and local DC venues four nights a week with Rare Essence, and in special appearances with the Godfather of Go-Go himself, Chuck Brown.

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