New jack swing is a type of music that was most popular during the early 1990s. A hybrid style that combines the rhythms of hip-hop and dance with the sounds of R&B, new jack swing combines both older and new trends in one, making a soulful, urban, swing music, a huge hit for the time. And still today, this style is proudly played through speakers, an ageless genre.
This is a list of the best new jack swing artists of all time, from Michael Jackson to Boyz II Men, did your favorite make it to the top ten?
We had to start off our list of the best new jack swing artists of all time with the creator of the style themselves, the band, Guy. An American R&B and soul band, during the late 80s and early 90s, they were the creators of the style of music.
Originally formed in 1987, the group is from Harlem, New York, and comprised of Teddy Riley, Aaron Hall, and Timmy Gatling. Teddy Riley is both an R&B/hip-hop artist and producer, and is referenced to be the first producer of the sound that is now known as new jack swing.
Leading the band in the late 1980s, Guy's success is accounted to the new twist that they put on the style, making it their own, and beginning the success of the sound that was soon adapted to Bobby Brown, Michael Jackson, and Bell Biv DeVoe's music.
Another pioneer of the new jack swing style, Bobby Brown's music will forever be recognized to be some of the best of its era. An American singer, songwriter, actor, and dancer, Bobby Brown is one of the best new jack swing artists of all time.
Beginning his career with the group, New Edition, the R&B and pop group since the beginning of their existence, he began his solo career after almost 10 years with the group, in 1985. One of his most successful albums came in 1988, with Don't Be Cruel, which had the Grammy Award-winning single, "Every Little Step." This soon became his signature song. Plus, we couldn't forget about his star roles in A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, and Two Can Play That Game.
Bell Biv DeVoe
Bell Biv DeVoe, or BBD, is yet another one of the best new jack swing groups. The trio was comprised of Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, and Ronnie DeVoe, three of the members of the group New Edition. Pioneering the new jack swing sound with their album Poison in the early 1990s, they quickly gained a fan group for their unique fusion of styles. Their most popular single was named "Do Me!"
The group received the Best R&B/Urban Contemporary Alum away of the Year for their album Poison at the Soul Train Music Awards. Plus, they went on to win the American Music Award for their incredible sound, winning the award for the favorite soul/R&B group in 1992.
Though Michael Jackson was the "King of Pop," he was known to be an incredibly versatile talent, as his musical career featured genres of pop, soul, funk, rock, disco, blues, dance, pop, and new jack swing.
The entire first half of his album, Bad, was dedicated to the new jack swing sound, this included hits such as "Jam" and "Remember the Time." Other tracks such as these were found on HIStory, with "Scream," "You Are Not Alone," and "Tabloid Junkie." As one of the best new jack swing artists of all time, Michael Jackson's incredible attributions to the style of music can never be forgotten.
Jodeci is an R&B quartet that is comprised of DeVante Swing, Mr, Dalvin, K-Ci, and JoJo. Incorporating gospel, soul, hip-hop, and new jack swing into their music, the group was certainly versatile with their talents, and expanded their demographic across many styles.
Their debut album was titled Forever My Lady and its main success was found with its singles "Come and Talk to Me" and "Forever My Lady," both ranking of the Billboard Hot 100. They also won two Soul Train Music Awards for Best R&B Album and Single for Forever My Lady and "Lately."
Keith Sweat is not only a singer-songwriter, but a record producer, actor, radio personality, and early figure in the new jack swing movement. Along with releasing hip-hop, urban, soul, and R&B music, Keith Sweat is certainly a pioneer in the rise of the new jack swing style's popularity.
Make It Last Forever was the first album that produced a new jack swing era song titled, "I Want Her"; a hit in the R&B world, and the biggest hit on the album. As one of the best new jack swing artists of all time, Keith Sweat's success can be attested to the increasing rise of the style.
Tony! Toni! Toné!
Tony! Toni! Toné! is a soul and R&B group based out of Oakland, California. Most popular during the age of new jack swing, the 1980s to the early to mid-1990s, the group was composed of Dwayne Wiggins, Raphael Saadiq, and Timothy Christian Riley, each family members, Wiggins and Saadiq being brothers, and Riley their cousin.
Other members have been Elijah Baker, Carl Wheeler, Randall Wiggins, Amar Khalil, and Antron Haile. With music under the genres of new jack swing, R&B, neo-soul, and soul, their sound transformed over the years. Receiving a double platinum for their album Sons of Soul, House of Music is still referred to as being their greatest work.
Of course, we had to mention the one and only Janet Jackson on our list of the best new jack swing artists of all time. With her song "Nasty," the sound featured a triplet swing beat, which has gotten its reputation for being a precursor to the new jack swing era's development.
Bridging the gap between the genres, new jack swing became Janet's niche, fusing both industrial, hip-hop, R&B, and dance music into one. Her albums expanded across many genres, from deep house, to contemporary R&B, swing jazz, rock, pop, and hip-hop.
Boyz II Men
Boyz II Men's first album, titled Cooleyhighharmony, was released right in the heart of the new jack swing era, 1991. Produced by Michael Bivins, the album had a drum-heavy, multi-layered sound that was everything the new jack swing sound stood for.
Otherwise referred to as "hip-hop doo-wop" the R&B group created some incredible singles for the era. “Motownphilly,” “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye To Yesterday,” and "End of the Road" are just some examples of their success. Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris, and Shawn Stockman can be referenced as true new jack swing pioneers.
Last, but certainly not least, on our list of the best new jack swing artists of all time is the girl group consisted of Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas, TLC. Many of their albums have been compared to Bell Biv DeVeo and Teddy Riley's sound, both giant pioneers in the build of the new jack swing era.
Combing the R&B genre with hip-hop, their music was a hit during the 1990s, and is still played today due to its unique sound. Achieving nine top-ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100, the girl group was nothing short of a success, especially for the new jack swing genre.