Do you remember the early 1990s? Wearing overalls with brightly colored silk shirts? When people like Kid 'N Play made their crazy hairstyles famous? When MC Hammer and Bobby Brown turned baggy pants into an art form? What about dances like the Roger Rabbit and the Running Man? Heavy on the synthesizers and rhythm machines, light on the seriousness. "That girl is poison," remember? "O-P-P yeah you know me?"
Between the late 80s and early 90s, so-called "urban" artists started getting more radio play by taking their traditional soul and R&B and combining them with hiphop production. New beats, samples, and loops caught the attention of pop music's listeners and behold, New Jack Swing is born!
Teddy Riley, a manager/producer who worked with such talents as Mary J. Blige, Jodeci, and TLC, is said to have been the most influential contributor to the New Jack Swing. The best way to understand the movement, however, is through the hits of the era. Think New Edition's "Candy Girl," Salt n Pepa's "Let's Talk About Sex," or Boyz II Men's "Motown Philly." Better yet, think Bel Biv Devoe. They said it best: "our music is mentally hip-hop, smoothed out on the R&B tip with a pop feel and appeal to it."
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