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New jack swing
Stylistic origins dance, funk, R&B, pop, swing, Hip-Hop, Motown, soul, dance-pop
Cultural origins mid 1980s
Typical instruments SynthesizersKeyboardDrum machine
Mainstream popularity Late 1980s to mid 1990s
Other topics
List of New Jack Swing artists

New jack swing or swingbeat,[1] is a hybrid style popular from the late-1980s into the mid-1990s, which fuses the rhythms, samples and production techniques of hip-hop with the urban contemporary sound of R&B. The new jack swing style developed as many previous R&B styles did, by combining elements of older styles with newer trends. It uses R&B style vocals sung over hip hop and dance-pop style influenced instrumentation. The sound of new jack swing comes from the hip hop "swing" beats created by drum machine, and hardware samplers, which was popular during the golden age of hip hop, with contemporary R&B style singing.

The term "new jack swing" was coined by writer-filmmaker Barry Michael Cooper (screenwriter for the films New Jack City, Above the Rim, and Sugar Hill), in a cover story in the Village Voice titled, "Teddy Riley Groove Master: Harlem Gangsters Raise a Genius", dated October 18, 1988. Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines new jack swing as "pop music usually performed by black musicians that combines elements of jazz, funk, rap, and rhythm and blues[2] Encyclopædia Britannica calls it the "... most pop-oriented rhythm-and-blues music since 1960s Motown", since its "...performers were unabashed entertainers, free of artistic pretensions; its songwriters and producers were commercial professionals." New jack swing did not take up the trend of using sampled beats, and instead created beats using the then-new SP-1200 and Roland 808 drum machines to lay an "insistent beat under light melody lines and clearly enunciated vocals."[1] Encyclopædia Britannica states that the "key producers" were Babyface and Teddy Riley.[1]

Contents

History

The term "new jack swing" describes the sound produced and engineered by R&B/Hip hop artist and producer Teddy Riley. Riley is an American R&B and hip hop singer-songwriter, musician and record producer. He led the band Guy in the 1980s and Blackstreet in the 1990s. Riley said, "I define the term [new jack swing] as a new kid on the block who's swinging it".[3]

Music website VH1.com notes that while in the 2000s, "hip-hop and R&B are kissing cousins", in the early 1980s, "the two genres were seldom mentioned in the same breath." However, during the late 1980s, "during the era of high-top fades, and parachute pants, producer Teddy Riley and label boss Andre Harrell successfully fused and marketed the two sounds in a sexy, exclamatory music that critics termed new jack swing. It sparked a revolution." Riley stated that before new jack swing, "Rappers and singers didn't want anything to do with one another," because "Singers were soft, rappers were street." Riley's new style blended "sweet melody and big beats".[4]

New jack swing is mellifluously soulful solo or harmonizing vocals addressing romantic themes and lyrics, sung over rhythms and "street" beats derived from urban musical influences. This style of music melded with hip hop, which also gave it elements of aggression of swaggering on some songs. Some songs consisted of rhythmic beats with music, while others had singing alternating with rap sections over this same type of music.

According to the 2004 New Rolling Stone Album Guide, when Michael Jackson recorded his album Dangerous in 1991, he wanted to "update" his sound, so he replaced his previous producer Quincy Jones with Teddy Riley.[5]

Revival

In October 2004, a variety of classic new jack swing tracks are used in the popular videogame Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The songs appear on fictional radio station CSR 103.9 and the soundtrack (released in December, 2004). Bell Biv Devoe member Michael Bivins portrays a self-absorbed DJ named Phillip "P.M." Michaels, who is aspiring to become an actor. New jack swing staged a revival of sorts in the mid-2000s, fuelled by the 2006 New Jack Reunion Tour. On October 8, 2007 VH-1's 4th Annual Hip-Hop Honors paid tribute to new jack swing with their nationally televised ceremony.

Influences

The Ghostbusters film franchise helped spread new jack swing songs by Ray Parker, Jr. and Bobby Brown, who was nicknamed The King of New Jack Swing. The NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel Air also boosted the spread of this culture, as the star of the show, Will Smith, was known initially for his hip-hop duo with DJ Jazzy Jeff. During the first episode of the series, Will Smith dances to the Soul II Soul new jack swing single "Back To Life". A Different World and In Living Color are other television programs of the era which exhibit influences from the new jack swing style. Video Soul, Soul Train, Showtime at the Apollo as well as the late night talk show The Arsenio Hall Show also helped to promote these acts.

House Party with Kid 'n Play, Boyz N the Hood, Juice, New Jack City, Boomerang, Above the Rim, Poetic Justice, Blankman and Bebe's Kids used New Jack Swing songs in their soundtracks. Dance-oriented pop artists such as Sheena Easton, Deborah Gibson, Jane Child, Joey Lawrence, and New Kids on the Block also have new jack swing elements in their early 1990s output. Former members of Minneapolis music group "The Time", Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, created a new jack swing-like sound for Janet Jackson's third album Control. Jam and Lewis used similar influences with hip-hop drum beats with smoother R&B stylings in the production. Though Jackson had previously been popular in R&B music, Control established her crossover appeal in the popular music market. To date the most successful new jack swing album is Dangerous, released in 1991 by Michael Jackson, which has sold 32 million copies worldwide.[6][7]

Notable songs

Many songs with elements of new jack swing and similar R&B styles ranked in the top 10 of the US R&B Billboard charts or the top ten of the US "top 100" charts.

In 1987, Keith Sweat's song "I Want Her" was number 5 in the US charts and number 1 in the R&B charts. One of Sweat's singles, "(There You Go) Tellin' Me No Again" was on the soundtrack for the film New Jack City. The musician and record producer Teddy Riley's group Guy, a group which was one of the early pioneers of hip-hop and R&B had a hit with the song "Groove Me", which went to number 4 in the US R&B charts, and the 1988 song "Teddy's Jam", which ranked number 5 in the US R&B charts.

Northern California's Club Nouveau had a Billboard number one single with their cover of Bill Withers's song Lean on Me in 1987. The song won a Grammy award later that year. The song was included on the group's debut album Life, Love & Pain, which was released in 1986. The backing track uses a sequenced swing beat, characteristic of the "New Jack Swing" style. Club Nouveau was a later incarnation of the Bay Area group Timex Social Club who helped to lay the foundation for new jack swing.

In 1988, Bobby Brown began his string of Top 10 Billboard hits with a cut from his second album, "Don't Be Cruel", which ranked number 8 in the US top 100 and number 1 in the US R&B charts. In that same year, former NBA cheerleader Paula Abdul had a number 10 US R&B hit with "(It's Just) the Way That You Love Me" and Ready for the World, a danceable, funk-infused Michigan group founded by Melvin Riley and Gordon Strozier, had a number 6 R&B hit with "My Girly". Tony! Toni! Toné! had three songs in the top ten of the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks, including "Little Walter" which made it to #1. Johnny Kemp's "Just Got Paid" also cracked the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1988 and went to #1 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play.

In 1989, Wreckx-n-Effect, a Teddy Riley-produced group which garnered press attention regarding their use of bikini-clad women in their videos, released "New Jack Swing", which lent its name to the emerging style. That same year, Fenderella garnered a hit with "Mr. DJ", a song with featured Doug E. Fresh, who was known as the "human beatbox" for his realistic imitations of drum machines and other hip hop sounds. Also, Janet Jackson released her fourth studio album, Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814. The album included a number of very successful new jack swing tracks, such as the number one Billboard Hot 100 hits Miss You Much and Love Will Never Do (Without You) as well as Alright and Rhythm Nation, both of which made the top five of the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. Also in 1989, Neneh Cherry's "Buffalo Stance" peaked at number 3 on the US top 100, and key new jack swing producer Babyface had a hit with his song "It's No Crime", which ranked number 7 in the US charts and number 1 on the US R&B charts. Another Teddy Riley-produced group, Today, had a hit with "Girl I Got My Eyes On You", which garnered a number 1 spot on the US R&B charts.

Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis had their share of contributions to new jack swing. Janet Jackson had 7 top 5 singles off her 1989 Rhythm Nation album, which merged the Minneapolis sound with new jack swing. Karyn White, also produced by the Flyte Time team also had hits in the late '80s and early '90s. Sheena Easton also had a few hits from her 1991 album What Comes Naturally produced by hitmakers Vassel Benford, Wolf and Epic, Nick Mundy. The single What Comes Naturally went to US#19 on the Billboard 100 singles chart.

After the band New Edition broke up, its former members formed several splinter groups or acts, including Bell Biv Devoe, Johnny Gill, Ralph Tresvant, and Bobby Brown. In 1990, several ex-New Edition members had hit songs. Bell Biv Devoe's songs "Poison" and "Do Me!", as well as Johnny Gill's single "Rub You the Right Way", all made it to number 3 in the US top 100. Ralph Tresvant had a number 4 hit (US top 100 charts) and number 1 hit (US R&B) with his song "Sensitivity". Also in 1990 pop singer Whitney Houston recorded "I'm Your Baby Tonight", produced by Babyface and his new jack swing producing partner Antonio Reid. The single topped the US Hot 100, giving Babyface his first produced #1 song while further helping to bring the genre to the mainstream.[8]

That same year, Samuelle, a former member of the disco-infused dance-urban group Club Nouveau had a number 1 R&B hit with "So You Like What You See". Troop also had a number 1 hit with a single from their second album, Attitude, entitled "Spread My Wings". "Feels Good" by the Oakland, California group Tony! Toni! Toné! reached number 1 on the R&B charts in 1990, and it also placed on the US top 100 (number 9) and on the dance charts (number 3). Today charted again in 1990 with "Why You Gettin' Funky On Me?", which reached number 2 on the R&B charts. "Let's Chill" by Guy garnered a number 3 spot on the US R&B charts.

Color Me Badd had a number 1 hit with "I Wanna Sex You Up". That same year, Christopher Williams released a single "I'm Dreamin'" from the New Jack City soundtrack, which became a #1 single on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart. Boyz II Men's song "Motownphilly" was a #1 R&B hit and top five U.S. pop hits. "I Like the Way (The Kissing Game)" by Hi-Five garnered the US #1 and R&B #1 spots. Jodeci's debut album Forever My Lady garnered 3 #1 R&B Hits in the fall of 1991. (Forever My Lady, Stay, and Come and Talk To Me). "Exclusivity" by Damian Dame charted as number-one R&B single, spending two weeks at the top position, a position also achieved by The Rude Boys with their song "Are You Lonely For Me". In 1992, Michael Jackson's single "Remember The Time" placed at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 2 on the Hot Dance Music/Club, and number 1 in the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop category. Chuckii Booker scored a #1 R&B hit with his song "Games". That same year, "She's Got That Vibe" by R.Kelly and Public Announcement reached the number 7 position on the R&B charts. "Weak" by SWV (Sisters With Voices) hit the number one spot on both the US top 100 and the R&B charts. In 1993: "Don't Walk Away" by Jade made it to number 7 and number 3 in the US top 100 and R&B charts, respectively. The New Jack R&B group II D Extreme scored a hit in 1993 with their New Jack ballad "Cry No More". TLC's debut album, "Ooooooohhh.... On the TLC Tip" (1992) had several hits, including "What About Your Friends" and "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg".

Young artists were given the spotlight during this era. They included Tracie Spencer with her hit album Make the Difference (1990) and groups like The Boys with The Boys (Motown, 1990), Redhead Kingpin and the F.B.I., whose Teddy Riley-produced debut album A Shade of Red contained the hit single "Pump It Hottie", which reached #2 on the US Hot Rap Singles Chart in 1990[9], and Another Bad Creation with Coolin' at the Playground Ya Know! (1991).

Artists

Criticism

As new jack swing became more popular in the early 1990s, there was backlash from comparatively "harder" acts in hip-hop (particularly gangsta rap), who felt that Brown and the NJS scene had "sold them out", capitalizing on the early popularity of rap but watering down its core message. In his song "Wrong Nigga To Fuck Wit", Ice Cube criticized NJS with the line: "It ain't no pop cause that sucks/And you can new jack swing on my nuts". This line was later sampled for NJS group Tony! Toni! Toné!'s 1993 single "If I Had No Loot".

References

  1. ^ a b c New jack swing - Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  2. ^ jack swing - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
  3. ^ Holden, Stephen (February 6, 1991). "Quite a Guy". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE7D81430F935A35751C0A967958260. 
  4. ^ Honorees | Snoop Dogg, Missy Elliott, Whodini, New Jack Swing, A Tribe Called Quest | The Score | 2007 VH1 Hip Hop Honors
  5. ^ Michael Jackson: Biography : Rolling Stone
  6. ^ "Michael Jackson sulla sedia a rotelle". AffarItaliani.it. 2008-07-11. http://www.affaritaliani.it/entertainment/micheal-jackson110708.html. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  7. ^ Carter, Kelley L. (2008-08-11). "New jack swing". Chicago Tribune. http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/arts/chi-5-things-0810aug10,0,1329158.story. Retrieved 2008-08-21. 
  8. ^ VH1: A History of Soul
  9. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:j9fuxqygld0e~T51 Redhead Kingpin and the F.B.I. Billboard Chart History

External links


Simple English

New jack swing is a fusion genre. It combines dance pop, hip hop and rhythms into R&B and samples. NJS was extremely popular between 1984 and 1995. The artists of new jack swing include TLC, Bell Biv Devoe, New Edition and other artists.









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