Home News Best New Jack Swing Songs: 40 Party Starting Jams

Best New Jack Swing Songs: 40 Party Starting Jams


In 1987, writer Barry Michael Cooper went to Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater to interview then-20 year old Teddy Riley about the new R&B sound the young producer had been largely responsible for – a sound which Cooper dubbed, for the purpose of the article – New Jack Swing.

New Jack Swing is sonically defined as R&B with production elements more traditionally associated with hip-hop; tempo and rhythm (the “swing”), programmed drums, and sampling, It was a hybrid that had been bubbling since the mid-’80s, pioneered by the writing and production teams of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and LA Reid and Babyface.

Teddy took the sound and added Harlem’s flavor to it: The energy of hustlers, gangsters, fly girls, and those hoping to either be – or be with – any of the above. Uptown was a land of style, flash, shine…and parties. It was aspirational; the source from which Uptown Records founder Andre Harrell coined the term “ghetto fabulous,” and the inspiration for the label’s ethos. The majority of the earliest artists, producers and figures who shaped New Jack Swing culture, including Riley, Harrell, Keith Sweat, Riley’s fellow Guy members Aaron and Damien Hall, Al B. Sure and Heavy D., were all from…

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