Monday, June 29, 2009

Week 5: New Jack Swing

We live in a world where hip hop and R&B are virtually synonymous—every 'urban' format radio station advertises themselves as playing "the hottest Hip-Hop and R&B", and most popular rap tunes have syrupy R&B-style sung hooks from guest vocalists. This all seems fairly unremarkable to us today, but nothing would've seemed stranger to rap fans 20 years ago. Make no mistake, hip hop and R&B were diametrically opposed musical philosophies in the 1980s; R&B was smooth music for adult contemporary stations, and rappers were young underground revolutionaries who spent a lot of time criticizing R&B for being "soft" or "commercial" or whatever.
Then along came record producer Teddy Riley, the guy behind Blackstreet, Guy, and Wreckx-N-Effect. He aimed to create a fusion of these two deeply different sounds, and his new sound (dubbed "New Jack Swing" by Above The Rim / New Jack City screenwriter
Barry Michael Cooper) became the dominant urban sound of the late-80s/early-90s, making Riley the Timbaland or Neptunes or Kanye (or whoever) of his era.
This isn't to say that he was the only person with this idea: L.A. Reid & Babyface were doing pretty much the same thing at the same time, as were Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, and (to a lesser extent) Dallas Austin.
All things told, these four production houses account for over half the tracks in this mix (for the nerds, I'll post a who-did-what in the comments). You also had the whole New Edition contingent and their underlings (Bell Biv DeVoe / Bobby Brown / Ralph Tresvant / Johnny Gill / Boyz II Men / Another Bad Creation), although their production credits were still pretty limited in this era.
Anyway, this sound is basically R&B vocals over a swingy style of golden era hip-hop production—tons of samples, corny PCM drum machines, lots of that classic Technotronic-style DX7 bass, big dopey snare fills, and everything is super-shuffley and bouncey. And I love it.
Fucking LOVE. IT.
So when KyleKlip requested a New Jack Swing mixtape for the blog, I got excited. I've whipped up what I believe to be the definitive New Jack Swing tape—I've shoehorned all my faves in here, and I don't think there's anything missing (although I am sure the comments section will prove me wrong soon enough). Before you say it: I left "My Prerogative" off on purpose. Three Bobby Brown tracks (for a total of six Ex-New-Edition tracks) is enough for one mixtape. Enjoy!

Chrissy's Year of Mixtapes Week 5: New Jack Swing.

  1. Jade; Don't Walk Away
  2. Hi-Five; I Like The Way (The Kissing Game)
  3. Al B. Sure!; Nite & Day
  4. Ralph Tresvant; Sensitivity
  5. Soul II Soul; Keep On Movin' (Teddy Riley's Rubba Dub)
  6. Bobby Brown; Every Little Step
  7. Color Me Badd; I Wanna Sex You Up
  8. Tony! Toni! Toné!; If I Had No Loot
  9. TLC; What About Your Friends
  10. Pebbles; Giving You The Benefit
  11. Bobby Brown; Humpin' Around
  12. Salt N Pepa; Expression
  13. Bell Biv DeVoe; Do Me!
  14. Keith Sweat; I Want Her
  15. Christopher Williams; I'm Dreamin
  16. Guy; Groove Me
  17. Bobby Brown; On Our Own
  18. Tevin Campbell; Round & Round
  19. Wreckx-N-Effect; New Jack Swing
  20. TLC; Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg (Remix)
  21. Michael Jackson; Remember The Time (RIP HOMIE)
  22. Hi-Five; I Just Can't Handle It
  23. Boyz II Men; MotownPhilly
  24. Another Bad Creation; Iesha
  25. Bell Biv DeVoe; Poison (Remix)
  26. Kid N Play; Funhouse (The House We Dance In)
  27. Chubb Rock; Treat 'Em Right
  28. Tony! Toni! Toné!; Feels Good (Remix)
  29. Johnny Gill; Rub You The Right Way
  30. Babyface; It's No Crime
  31. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince; Ring My Bell
  32. MC Brains; Oochie Coochie
  33. Redhead Kingpin & The F.B.I.; Pump It Hottie
  34. Bubba; I Like Your Style
  35. Basic Black; Whatever It Takes
  36. Johnny Kemp; Just Got Paid
  37. R. Kelly & Public Announcement; She's Got That Vibe


  1. This is the single greatest mixtape ever!

  2. i can't believe someone actually had the audacity to create this...thank you!

  3. Oh by the way, as promised (albeit way late):

    Teddy produced and/or remixed #2, 5, 16, 19, 21, 22, 33, 34, & 36; Jimmy & Terry did #4 & 29; L.A. Reid & Babyface produced #6, 10, 11, 17, & 30; and Dallas Austin is responsible for #9, 20, 23, & 24.

  4. Love your list. Here's some other tracks worthy for the mix:

    Troop "Spread My Wings (Remix)", Jodeci "Come and Talk to Me", Portrait "Here We Go", Big Daddy Kane "I Get the Job Done", LL Cool J "Around The Way Girl"..... damn, so many songs I can go on and on!!!!

  5. Great mix, I was going to suggest some Troop but I see someone else is on it. This is an ambitious project, I'm looking forward to see what else you come up with!

  6. Too hot to handle, Too cold to hold.

  7. Scary to say that I recall these songs vividly on the radio when I was in my middleschool age.

  8. holy cow. This stuff is bomb. Dopest one yet!

  9. I LOVE NEW JACK SWING! Loving your blog and the tunes baby :)


  11. We must be the same age, 'cause DAAAAAMN this brought me back to middle school. Great mix. Total 20 year flash back. Fuck I am getting old.


  12. Dude. You are a fucking genius. This is gonna get spun at every party I have from here to eternity.

  13. Yes 6th grade dance in the house! I'm so glad you put If I had no Loot on here--I thought I was the only one who loved that song. Everybody loves tony toni tone but not that song. I had the cassette single! Sigh, cassette singles.
    I agree, jodice seems absent. Remember the Time was an interesting choice, it fits but I never thought of it as new jack swing. I'm Dreamin is my jam!

  14. My suggetion; Riff-judy had a boyfriend
    Today-U stood me up rmx
    LL Cool J-Stand my your man TR remix
    4sure-We can swing it-Rmx w/rap
    Guy-Teddy's jam 2 & Teddy's Jazz(jazz take on teddy's jam 1)
    Jane child-i don't wanna fall in love+bonus beats
    Today-Why u gettin' funky on me ext. version+ bonus beats
    Shock g's version of b.brown's get away(different swing-it's gr8)
    Wreckx-n-effect-My Cutie-smooth remix
    Heavy d-we've got our own thang club version
    Other TR rmx/dub versions of I just can't handle it
    B.brown-that's the way love is-12" remix not TR's version
    Hammer-Pumps and a bump single/ Bump teddy bump version
    Remember the time-E-Smoove's verson
    Wee Papa Girls(UK group)-Faith

    There are very few times Teddy has been out-swung(I put a couple here), but he is the king. If u get the chance, listen to the bonus beats/dub on the 12" singles- that is where he really shows his skills.
    Lots of stuff at
    not my site-just saying. no disrespect. This list is good. Had these on tapes/vinyl.

  15. Hey....This is what a Dj supposed to do...Not just spin music ..but take you on a journey...Hey man thanks for the trip back to 1991....WOW

  16. love this, would have added:

    samuelle - so you like what you see
    rftw - yo that's a lot of body
    today - him or me
    guy - i wanna get with you

    but that's splitting hairs really...

  17. Oh man not a track is missing! And who doesn't get wet over Tony Toni Tone's AH OH BABY sample. WHO I ASK.

  18. Wheres TODAY's 'Why You Get Funky On Me'?? and some Heavy D & The Boyz???

  19. dear god, I'm Listening to this Mixtape thinking it's just a "Pump It Hottle" away from being the best mix ever...and then boom! It comes on. My hat's off to you!

  20. From one DJ to another, this was brilliant. THANK YOU! I second what Bryce said about this being played at every house party I ever have.

  21. My friend was playing this mix at her party and told me where to find it. Good job :)