Thursday, July 8, 2010

Teddy Riley's New Jack Swing (Harlem Gangsters Raise a Genius)

by Barry Michael Cooper  

("Teddy Riley's New Jack Swing: Harlem Gangsters Raise a Genius" is my feature on the iconic producer and his game-changing music, which was published in the Village Voice on 18 October 1987. It is the story in which I gave a name to the genre of Riley's creation. From the St. Nick Projects to Neverland Ranch, Teddy Riley's New Jack Swing was the pendulum that shifted modern pop music into a new direction.)

This is the story of a New Harlem Renaissance - on floppy disk
My mother told me, that when I was about eight months old, I climbed on top of this old record player; turned it on somehow, and stood on the turntable, going around and around. She said I was trying to find out where the sound was coming from.
-Teddy Riley
'Round and 'round I go...   

The bass kicking from the Kenwood in the golden Acura Legend shook 126th Street like an earthquake traveling on Pirelli tires. The line of special guests, amateur night contestants, and groupies grew longer and longer, stretching like a dancing, human inchworm from the Apollo backstage doors to Eighth Avenue. Every time a Euro/Asian big-money sedan passed the anxious crowd--music sweeping over and beyond the darkened power windows--they began to dance, hunching their shoulders and jerking their bodies in short, abbreviated versions of the James Brown. It was like the best block party, diced up into five-second segments.
The entire "Teddy Riley's New Jack Swing (Harlem Gangsters Raise a Genius)" feature story is now available in my anthology of investigative reporting and essays titled, "Hooked On The American Dream (Vol.1): New Jack City Eats Its Young.  Click here to go to the Amazon site.

No comments: