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Chapter 168: Rhythm Nation

Pop R&B, New Jack Swing

New Jack Swing isn’t known for it’s subtlety, but one of my favorite subtle innovations from this era is the use of ‘Yeah!,’ ‘Go!’ or ‘Hey!’ as programmed samples. “It Takes Two” possibly got there first, but it adds so much to tracks like “Motownphilly,” a hype man built right into the beat. The whole style is maximalist madness, the compressed mix of 80s dance music flattened even further and topped off with bonus samples and shuffle beats. I understand why it couldn’t sustain for long, but Teddy Riley, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis are damn geniuses; this is pop intended to shock and awe.
1. Janet Jackson

Rhythm Nation

2. Bell Biv DeVoe


3. Boyz II Men


4. Simply Red

If You Don't Know Me by Now

5. Bobby Brown

My Prerogative

6. Soul II Soul

Back To Life

7. New Edition

Can You Stand The Rain

8. Paula Abdul

Straight Up

9. Janet Jackson


10. Boyz II Men

End of the Road