Sun. Dec. 05, 2021

10 essential New Jack Swing classics / Cast your fav!

10 essential New Jack Swing classics10 essential New Jack Swing classics… Like always, a selection is per definition limited. The second half of the 80’s saw a bunch of artists litteraly boosting the R&B production. Meanwhile givin’ it a new energy inherited from the streets. Be it Brit-Soul (Soul II Soul) in the UK. But also in the US with the so called Street Beat or Swing Beat (L.A. & Babyface, Jam & Lewis). If not New Jack Swing. With the whole resulting of some infectious blends of Soul, Gospel, Jazz, Funk and GoGo Music as pioneered by Teddy Riley. As a result, many are the gems we couldn’t talk about here. Even though they would have definitely been worth a mention.

No need to say how this selection is way from being exhaustive. Most likely due to find an extension later when the right time comes. Nevertheless, you should find thereafter a pretty much illustrative sample of highly firing joints where the infectiousness of the groove predominates.

Wishing you’ll enjoy the ride as much as we did, while putting this together for you. With your feedback, and a mention of your favorite song more than welcome.

10 essential New Jack Swing classics / Keith Sweat – Don’t Stop Your Love (Vintertainment)
One of the highlights from Keith Sweat‘s 1987 ‘Make It Last For Ever’ debut-album, along with its title cut and ‘Something Just Ain’t Right’. As many gems which would get Sweat en route for super stardom in the R&B/New Jack Swing scene. A cut which saw him jammin’ along with luminaries such as Patrick Adams, responsible for the engineering. And also both Fred McFarlane and Teddy Riley on keyboards.
10 essential New Jack Swing classics / Johnny Gill – Rub You The Right Way (Motown)
Remembered for his collaborations with long time friend Stacy Lattisaw. But also as a member of both New Edition (replacing Bobby Brown after his departure). This in addition to LSG (along with the late Gerald Levert and Keith Sweat). Johnny Gill emerged as a New Jack Swing star back in 1990 with the release of his second eponymous album on Motown as led by the Jam & Lewis produced ‘Rub You The Right Way’. A cut which eventually got an alternative version. This with production courtesy of  Dave ‘Jam’ Hall, Edward Ferrell, and Nevelle and Pete Phillips aka The Untouchables. Not to mention a contribution by the likes of rapper C.L. Smooth
10 essential New Jack Swing classics / Johnny Kemp – Just Got Paid (Columbia)
Hailing from the Bahamas, Johnny Kemp, who sadly passed in April 2015 at the age of 55, first came to light as a member of Kinky Fox.
Eventually doin’ backing vocals for B.B.& Q. Band and Change. One might remember him for the Kashif produced ‘Just Another Lover’. A cut taken from his 1986 eponymous debut-album. Although he would come to higher recognition 2 years after. This while teamin’ up with producer Teddy Riley on ‘Just Got Paid’. A jam speaking of which Keith Sweat passed after listening to the instrumental demo. It nevertheless stands as Kemp‘s biggest success ever…
10 essential New Jack Swing classics / Michael Jackson – Dangerous (Epic)
The end of 1991 marked a drastic change of style/sound for Michael Jackson with the release of ‘Dangerous’, his 8th studio album. The first to be not be produced by Quincy Jones, but by Jackson himself along with long time friend Bill Bottrell and New Jack Swing mogul Teddy Riley. Produced by the latter, its title track never got a single release back then though as initially planned. This because of both the allegations of child sexual abuse which got made against Jackson in August 1993. But also the singer’s health concerns. And the failure of previous single, ‘Gone Too Soon’. It entered the music charts in mid-2009 after Jacko‘s passing, back in June that same year…
10 essential New Jack Swing classics / Soul 4 Real – Every Little Thing I Do (Uptown Records)
Formed in 1992 by 4 teeenagers the brothers Dalyrimple (Jason, Brian, Christopher and Andre)… Soul 4 Real (also known as Soul For Real or Soul IV Real) took on where groups such as New Edition or The Boys left. Under contract with Andre Harrell‘s seminal Uptown label, they came straight to #1 in the charts back in 1994 with the Heavy D produced ‘Candy Rain’, from their debut-album of the name. A cut soon which they soon after followed with the memorable ‘Every Little Thing I Do’, built on a sample of Gap Band‘s classic ‘Outstanding’…
10 essential New Jack Swing classics / Heavy D & The Boyz – We Got Our Own Thang (Uptown Records)
One of the biggest activists in the then emerging Swing Beat scene, the late Rapper Dwight Errington Myers, aka Heavy D, came to form Heavy D & The Boyz (the first group signed on Uptown Records) back in 1987 along with Edward Ferrell (DJ Eddie F of The Untouchables fame) and backing singers G-Whiz (Glen Parrish) and the late ‘Trouble’ T. Roy (Troy Dixon).Opening their second album, ‘Big Tyme’, which hit the streets back in 1989, the Teddy Riley produced ‘We Got Our own Thang’ got them to the next level with ‘Somebody For Me’ and their cover version of The O’Jays‘s classic ‘Now That We Found Love’ released two years after. Heavy D, who sadly died, aged 44 on Nov. 08, 2011, is also remembered for his collaborations with Janet Jackson (‘Alright’) and her brother, Michael (‘Jam’)…
10 essential New Jack Swing classics / Today – Why You Get Funky On Me (Motown)
Promoted back then as the new Four Tops, Englewood, NJ-based quartet Frederick Lee ‘Bubba’ Drakeford, Larry Singletary, Wesley Adams, and Larry McCain… They came straight to the forefront back in 1988. This with their eponymous debut-album featuring the Teddy Riley produced ‘Him Or Me’. Not to mention ‘Girl I Got My Eyes On You’ (their biggest success ever). From their follow-up album – ‘The New Formula’, which came to light 2 years after, the still boiling ‘Why You Get Funky On Me’. It got here again credited to Gene Griffin productionwise, with remixing work courtesy of Timmy Regisford. One of the most bouncing jams in the genre. It also appeared in the Reginald Hudlin directed ‘House Party’‘s OST that same year [More…]
10 essential New Jack Swing classics / Guy – Her (MCA)
Teddy Riley‘s first group which he put together back in 1987 with Aaron Hall and Timmy Gatling. With Hall‘s younger brother Damion replacing the latter after the release of their debut-album during the following year. Taken from its 1990 follow-up – ‘The Future’ – the boiling ‘Her’ got nevertheless quite overshadowed by other cuts such as ‘Wanna Get Wit U’ and ‘Let’s Chill’. Not to mention ‘Do Me Right’ (featuring the late Heavy D), or ‘Let’s Stay Together’ [More…]
10 essential New Jack Swing classics / Wreckx-n-Effect – New Jack Swing 12″ Remix (New Jack Swing) (MCA)
With mixing work courtesy of Teddy Riley, a title speaking for itself. It happened to be the most memorable jam by the likes of the former Wrecks-N-Effect. Originally a Hip-Hop fortet featuring Aqil ‘A-Plus’ Davidson, Brandon Mitchell, Markell Riley (Teddy‘s brother) and ‘KC’. Then a threesome after the departure of the latter. And, lastly,  a twosome after the tragic death of Mitchell. This following a shooting accident soon after the release of this classic back in 1990.
10 essential New Jack Swing classics / Basic Black – Nothing But A Party 12″ Mix (New Jack Swing) (Motown)
Not that far away from Today in terms of approach, Atlanta-based fortet Darryl ‘Dezo’ Adams, Walter ‘Mucho’ Scott, Lloyd ‘Spec’ Turner and Kelvin ‘K.B.’ Bradshaw made a transcient appearance under the spotlights with the infectious ‘Nothing But A Party’. This with production work credited to Teddy Riley‘s uncle Gene Griffin. Although rumors circulated about Riley doin’ most of the job. With Griffin only acting as an executive producer. Meanwhile Timmy Regisford did the remix with a Rap performance courtesy of X-Caliber.

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