For this week’s #SongLyricsSunday, the prompt was to feature a song with the names “Jack” or “John” in the title or lyrics. Well, I took this prompt to the left field. Instead of picking a song with those names, I choose a song from one of my musical genres, New Jack Swing. My pick? “New Jack City” by Guy from the New Jack City soundtrack.
(This is part of a #SongLyricsSunday challenge, which is hosted by Jim at. Anyone can join! Details on how to participate are found at the end of this post!)
Wait a Minute: What is New Jack Swing?
According to Riley, “The defining feature [in New Jack Swing] was the introduction of swing beats, a rhythmic pattern using offbeat accented 16th note triplets.” Riley also blended sweet melody (R&B) and big beats (hip-hop) to form New Jack Swing.
The genre was very popular in the late 80s and early 90s. Boby was hailed as one of the Kings of New Jack Swing (along with Riley) when his second album, Don’t Be So Cruel, became a top-selling album in 1988, thus making thr musical genre popular. Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, New Edition, Janet Jackson, TLC, Babyface, Guy, Levert, Bell Biv DeVoe, SWV, and Whitney Houston were some of the many artists that released material with the New Jack Swing sound.
Although New Jack Swing fizzled out by the mid-90s, it recently made a comeback. The 2018 remix of Bruno Mars’ song “Finesse”, featuring Cardi B, helped revitalize the genre when the remix became very popular. Also, the Korean pop boy band used New Jack Swing in.
Guy’s “New Jack City”
Guy’s “New Jack City” was used in the Mario Van Peebles’ 1991 film New Jack City (If you haven’t watched this movie before, I highly recommend it because it is really good and has awesome talent). Guy was a trio with Teddy Riley, Aaron Hall, and Damion Hall as members. The band was together from 1987 to 1991 and 1999 to 2000. They reunited in 2008 and been active since. Some of their most recognized songs are “Groove Me” and “Teddy’s Jam”.
The early 90s tune was written by Teddy Riley, Aaron Hall, and Bernard Belle. It was only featured on the New Jack City soundtrack and not released as a single. Although it wasn’t featured a single, I really like listening to “New Jack City” as it is funky, melodious, and smooth. My favorite part is the chorus with the melodic and smooth vocals singing the title over and over. Also, what I really enjoy is the quirky piano bits played throughout the song. It is funky and I like it!
Guy’s “New Jack City” is a lesser-known New jack Swing tune that really highlights the smoothness, the melody, and the beats that make New Jack Swing. Riley’s talent as a composer and a superb vocalist in this shouldn’t be missed as he is able to blend funky and melodic together really well. Although a minor soundtrack, This early 90s’ jam is a must-listen for anyone who just starting to listen to New Jack Swing as the tune really embodies the genre really well.