New Jack Swing

New Jack Swing

Listen to any modern r&b playlist and it becomes easy to forget that it wasn’t long ago that soul and hip hop existed as separate genres of music. And while I think both would have benefitted by sticking to their corners, this recent heatwave has exposed a patch of nostalgia that reminded me how exiting it was to watch the transition play out in real time.

Dubbed “New Jack Swing” in a Village Voice interview with the genre’s Godfather, Teddy Riley, who had come up producing artists like Heavy D and Kool Moe Dee, and by creating the classic instrumental for Doug E Fresh’s “The Show”. Riley applied the same production flair and love for the 808 to upbeat popular soul vocals, which married Hip Hop and R&B together forever, for better and for worse.

Nearly a couple of decades later, whether or not the music stands the test of time might have more to do with your level of involvement in the scene. Not since the jazz age has a culture developed such a sophisticated range of formalized dance steps, an involvement that required you to practice beforehand and create choreographed routines, and not just ad lib the moment. Where the original swing kids had Duke Ellington and the Astoria, jars of gin and Zoot suits, we New Jacks had Teddy Riley and wine coolers, Ikeda overalls and polka dot shirts, but those distinctions faded away the first time you ever jumped your own leg, then landed in the splits.
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      New Jack Swing

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Johnny Kemp – Just Got Paid
Keith Sweat – I Want Her
Hi Five – I Just Can’t Handle It
Boyz II Men – Under Pressure
2 0’Clock – Gotta Get That Girl (12″ Version)
Johnny Gill – Rub You the Right Way
Luther Vandross & Janet Jackson – The Best Things In Life Are Free
Guy – I Wanna Get With U
Ready For the World – Yo, That’s a Lot of Body
Samuelle – So You Like What You See
Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel (Remix)
Tony! Toni! Tone! – Let’s Have a Good Time
En Vogue – Hold On (Edit)
LL Cool J – The Boomin’ System (The Underground Mix)
Bell Biv Devoe – Word to the Mutha! (WBBD Remix)
Another Bad Creation – Spydermann
Wrecks-N-Effect – New Jack Swing
Heavy D & the Boyz – We Got Our Own Thang (Teddy Riley Club Mix)
Raheim – Does Your Man Know About Me
Ralph Tresvant – Sensitivity
Al B. Sure – Nite and Day
Troop – Spread My Wings
Flex – Hard To Say Goodbye to Yesterday

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As part of this heatwave induced nostalgia trip I’m on, I also threw together a quick mix of guilty pleasure summer rap hits, hoping that nearly a year running this blog will have finally afforded me enough street cred to put Color Me Bad on a mix.

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      electric adolescence - summer rap hits

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Candyman – Knockin’ Boots
Color Me Badd – I Wanna Sex You Up (Smoothed Out Mix)
LL Cool J – Around the Way Girl
DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince – Summertime (Remix)
Brotherhood Creed – Helluva (Mo’ Betta Mix)
A Ligher Shade of Brown – On a Sunday Afternoon
Dream Warriors – Ludi (Double Trouble Club Mix)
Marley Marl feat. Heavy D – Fools In Love
The Jungle Brothers – Spark a New Flame
De La Soul – Talkin’ Bout Hey Love
Ghostface Killah feat Slick Rick, RZA, Raekwon – The Sun
Take 6 – Don’t Shoot Me

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