Monday, May 13, 2013

New Jack Swing: Urban Music’s Defining Shift



This is rather cliché, Lil Wayne has a feature on a R&B song. Chris Brown or Ne-Yo “rescues” some rapper’s hook.  This is an example of urban radio today. However this didn’t happen overnight. New Jack Swing. What is that? This is and was a groundbreaking sound in music. To make a long story short: R&B singers now sing over hip hop beats found in a drum machine created in the 80’s. Now rappers could enlist an R&B/Soul vocalist to jazz up their song. There are many examples. I want to share my own personal ones from my existence. First, “Remember the Time” by Michael Jackson, he wanted to try this new “sound”, The album Dangerous was awesome. Mary J Blige and Puffy (now Diddy) executive produced “What’s The 411” and “My Life”…”dopeness”. Mary’s soulful voice blended with a hard-hitting street sound. This musical mish mash a definite yin/yang. I have even more countless examples. What I can say is that “Dangerous” is one of the best selling new jack swing albums by the “King of Pop” rather ironic. Mary J Blige has been coined by her collaborator Sean “Diddy” Combs, the “Queen of Hip Hop Soul” New Jack Swing is Smooth yet Hard, Soulful yet Street. It’s still relevant. Appreciate these beautiful contrasts. I know I do. Yes this is my opinion.

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