This month our Music Discovery is brought to you by one of our Associate Music Supervisors, Christian Zabala, who may or may not be a little obsessed with New Jack Swing. And, as always, our June BrandRadio playlist has been hand picked by our entire music team to set your playlist in the right direction for the beginning of summer.
“The Roof! The Roof! The Roof Is On Fire!”
It was a Saturday morning. I had woken up early to make my Gordon Ramsey inspired scrambled eggs with some orange juice. As I sprinkled the salt & pepper over my creamy egg concoction in Salt Bae fashion, I couldn’t help but find myself grooving to a song I randomly saved on Spotify; Full Force’s “Ain’t My Type of Hype.” Unfortunately, I found myself microwaving my food as I had let it sit out too long from dancing.
After eating, I found myself sitting on my couch watching the movie responsible for my cold breakfast that morning, “House Party.” As I watched the infamous dance sequence of Kid-N-Play grooving to the same song I was while making breakfast, I couldn’t help but binge and watch House Party 2 and eventually think to myself, “Whatever happened to New Jack Swing?” You know, the music genre that conquered the late 80’s and 90’s that made people dance and have a good time. THAT kind of music. The feel-good R&B melodies mixed with the hard-hitting drums of Hip-Hop that defined an era.
With producer Teddy Riley spearheading the movement along with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Hank Shocklee, Babyface and L.A. Reid, New Jack Swing spawned many classic songs that are still played today from artists like Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, New Edition, Boyz II Men, TLC and Guy. This genre has stood the test of time and continues to serve as inspiration for contemporary artists such as Beyonce, Rihanna, Drake, Kehlani, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran and countless others.
Although I was a youngster when this music was relevant, I remember hearing New Jack Swing on television, movies, and even at family gatherings. The dance moves were infectious, the clothing that went along with it felt timeless, and the feeling it gave you when you were dancing to the right song was nothing short of perfect. With summer arriving and the season of parties, vacations, and all around social interaction on its way, I felt the need to take a trip down memory lane to when you danced, partied, and fell in love. In case you forgot how great this genre of music is, I have listed some of my favorites for your listening enjoyment.
Artist: Bobby Brown
Track: My Prerogative
The song that set off Bobby Brown to larger than life stardom. The Teddy Riley produced hit that would make him the most sought after producer and the New Jack Swing genre the sound of the 90’s.
Fun fact: Bobby Brown’s Don’t Be Cruel album was already finished until Brown decided that the album needed something more aggressive & strong… Rest is history.
Artist: Bell Biv Devoe
After New Edition took a hiatus, the world would see the success of Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill, leaving Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie Devoe in an awkward spot until Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis insisted they create Bell Biv Devoe. With production from the Bomb Squad, Spyderman and Dr. Freeze, BBD would go on to make one of, if not THE greatest, dance song of the 90’s New Jack Swing era which still gets played today.
Artist: Full Force
Track: Ain’t My Type of Hype
This is the song I mentioned earlier that made me dance and my breakfast get cold. Full Force’s 1989 party cut that serves as an early example of New Jack Swing, with its melodic harmonies and upbeat, hard-hitting drums that is sure to start the party… Don’t believe me? Watch this.
Artist: Michael Jackson
Track: Remember The Time
One of my top 5 MJ songs to date! The feel-good love song produced by Teddy Riley which some have said was the last big hit of the New Jack Swing sound.
Artist: Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson had already released Rhythm Nation in 1989 but would return in 1993 with the more adult sounding classic album Janet. The second single produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis consisted of classic New Jack Swing that would only take her higher into the pop music stratosphere.
Artist: Bruno Mars
Although it may sound like it’s straight from the 90’s, this single comes off Mars’ 2016 24K Magic release. With the entire album being inspired by the sounds of yesterday, this song is a reminder of how great the New Jack Swing sound was for parties and having a good time. Even though it may not be in the mainstream like it was in the 90’s, it’s always good to take a trip down memory lane and reminisce.