Thu. Dec. 14, 2017

10 essential New Jack Swing classics

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 litterally boosting the R&B production, 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, resulting of some infectious blends of Soul, Gospel, Jazz, Funk and GoGo Music as pioneered by Teddy Riley followed by Rodney Jerkins. 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 released ‘Make It Last For Ever’ debut album, along with its title cut and ‘Something Just Ain’t Right’ which would get Sweat en route for super stardom in the R&B/New Jack Swing scene. A cut which saw him surrounded by luminaries such as Patrick Adams, responsible for the engineering, and 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) and 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 eventually given an alternative version as produced by Dave ‘Jam’ Hall, Edward Ferrell, and Nevelle and Pete Phillips aka The Untouchables with 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 last April 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. Remembered for the Kashif produced ‘Just Another Lover’, taken from his 1986 self-titled debut-album, he came to higher recognition 2 years after though with the Teddy Riley produced ‘Just Got Paid’ (speaking of which Keith Sweat passed on the instrumental demo), standing as his 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 but also 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, the track of the name never got a single release back then though as initially planned because of both the allegations of child sexual abuse which got made against Jackson in August 1993, the singer’s health concerns, and the failure of previous single, ‘Gone Too Soon’. It entered the music charts in mid-2009 after the man’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. Signed to Andre Harrell‘s seminal Uptown label, they came straight to #1 in the charts back in 1994 with the Heavy D produced ‘Candy Rain’, taken from their debut-album of the name. A cut soon after be followed by 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, better known as 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’, released back in 1989, the Teddy Riley produced ‘We Got Our own Thang’ got them to the next level along 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 came straight to the forefront back in 1988 with their self-titled debut-album featuring the Teddy Riley produced ‘Him Or Me’ and ‘Girl I Got My Eyes On You’ (their biggest success ever). Taken from their follow-up album – ‘The New Formula’, released 2 years after, the still boiling ‘Why You Get Funky On Me’ got credited to Gene Griffin productionwise, with remixing work courtesy of Timmy Regisford. Once of the most bouncing jams in the genre, it also got included in the Reginald Hudlin directed ‘House Party”s OST that same year…
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 the latter replaced by Hall‘s younger brother Damion after the release of their debut-album back in 1988. Taken from its 1990 follow-up – ‘The Future’ – the boiling ‘Her’ got nevertheless quite overshadowed by other cuts such as ‘Wanna Get Wit U’, ‘Let’s Chill’, ‘Do Me Right’ (featuring the late Heavy D), or ‘Let’s Stay Together’…
10 essential New Jack Swing classics / Wreckx-n-Effect – New Jack Swing 12″ Remix (New Jack Swing) (MCA)
Mixed by Teddy Riley, a title speaking for itself which happened to be the most memorable jam by the likes of the former Wrecks-N-Effect, originally a Hip-Hop fortet formed by Aqil ‘A-Plus’ Davidson, Brandon Mitchell, Markell Riley (Teddy‘s brother) and ‘KC’ which became a threesome after the departure of the latter, then a twosome after the tragic death of Mitchell in 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 appearence under the spotlights with the infectious ‘Nothing But A Party’ with production work credited to Teddy Riley‘s uncle Gene Griffin, although it got heavily rumored that Riley did most of the job with Griffin only acting as an executive producer, and remix by the likes of Timmy Regisford with a Rap performance coutesy of X-Caliber.

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