This Thursday, onetime New Edition member and new jack swing icon Johnny Gill will be performing a set at Yoshi's. Credited as the creation of Teddy Riley, New Jack Swing saw R&B vocals being fused with uptempo beats coated in the bumptious attitude of hip-hop. At the subgenre's height in the '90s, it even had everlasting King of Pop Michael Jackson drafting in chief swing architect Riley to craft him a hit ("Remember the Time"). And despite curmudgeonly ol' Ice Cube once proclaiming "you can New Jack Swing on my nuts," the music sums up an era when the worlds of R&B and hip-hop started to commingle to mutually beneficial effect. So with Gill's gig on the horizon, here are 10 feel-good New Jack Swing anthems.
10. Johnny Gill, "Rub You the Right Way"
After spending a chunk of the '80s dropping solo albums and a project in tandem with Stacy Lattisaw, Johnny Gill saw his career receive a boost when he was drafted in to replace Ralph Tresvant in New Edition. His peak contribution to the New Jack Swing canon remains his 1990 solo single "Rub You the Right Way," a Jam & Lewis-produced track that saw him boasting how a tryst comes with a "customer satisfaction" guarantee. Solidifying the hip-hop and New Jack Swing nexus, a remix appeared featuring Pete Rock's MC foil, CL Smooth.
9. Guy, "Groove Me"
An R&B supergroup pivoted around New Jack Swing wunderkind Teddy Riley and also featuring the talents of Aaron Hall and Timmy Gatling, Guy's "Groove Me" is a cornerstone of the genre, and a standout on the trio's platinum-selling self-titled album. For bonus corny kicks, there's copious keytar action in the official video, too.