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Travel Back to 1991 With “New Jack City” by Guy

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 An Unique Title For Me. Anyone can join! Details on how to participate are found at the end of this post!)

Wait a Minute: What is New Jack Swing?

New Jack Swing is a fusion genre that was popular in the late 80s and 90s. The online dictionary Merriam-Webster defines this musical genre as “pop music usually performed by black musicians that combine elements of jazz, funk, rap, and rhythm and blues”.[1] It was created by Teddy Riley and Bernard Belle. New Jack Swing was first heard on Janet Jackson’s 1986 album Control.

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.”[2] 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. Bobby Brown 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 their fifth album 1 of 1.

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.

Listen to Guy’s “New Jack City” below and let me know what you think in the comments!


Yo Damien yo hit the sticks
Slim you hit the base
Yo, are you ready to kick it
Here we go
Check 1-2, Check 1-2
Turn it up just a little bit, well all right
Let’s get a little base

This is the sound grab your partner and get down
Everyone must know
We’ve been here before and we’re gonna give you more
Its time to let it show
Music is funky, girls are so fine
(yo fellas y’all better push up)
So sweet and vidal
Gotta get the booty (gotta get the booty)
Oohh it’s to late
Can’t believe a thing about the new jack swing

New Jack City!
New Jack City!
(new jack swing baby!)
New Jack City!
(shake that booty!
New Jack City!

When the party’s over and it’s time to make that move
Somebody gotta win, somebody got to lose
Stop procrastinatin’ , and anticipatin’
In a new jack city there’s no hesitating!

New Jack City!
(city yeah!)
New Jack City!
New Jack City!
New Jack City!

Swing it, swing it
Swing it, swing it
Swing it, swing it
Swing it, swing it

New Jack City
Ooh yeah yeah yeah
The new jack swing, the new jack swing
The new jack swing
New jack city!
New jack city!
New jack city!
New jack city!

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[1] Definition of JACK SWING”

[2] Bristout, Ralph. “Groove Me: The story of New Jack Swing”.