New Jack Swing MPC Music Theory & 90s R&B History

New Jack Swing MPC Music Theory & 90s R&B History

The New Jack Swing era was a mixture of hip hop, dance, and R&B fused into one sound. It was a pinnacle moment of 90s R&B. Pioneered by super producer Teddy Riley (of the group "Guy") and Bernard Belle (rest in peace). This sound would reach new heights after the movie "New Jack City". Ironically, Teddy Riley worked on the sound track with film writer and Harlem native Berry Michael Cooper (who also wrote the story for Above the Rim). There's no secret the sauce comes from the swing of the drum sampler. In this case, I'll show you how it's done on the MPC (Live 2), but it can be done on any drum machine or DAW.

If your interested in creating this sound. Here's a great sample pack created by Musician Paradise. It actually touches on all the dope vibes of the 90s R&B era.

The key element to the NJS sound is the swing!! Any DAW, beat machine, or drum sampler worth the money has a "swing" option! Our favorite drum sampler of choice is the MPC (My personal favorite one is the MPC Live 2). It allows you to go deeper than "swing" as you can shift drums over using the "timing correct" bka TC button.

akai mpc live 2

If you own a current generation MPC (MPC ONE, Live, Live 2, X, Key 61, or Studio MK2). Well, consider yourself lucky. This expansion pack is loaded with both the sounds and drums! If you work in a DAW. I recommend downloading the MPC Beats software and using it as a VST. It will grant you access to use this expansion. Plus, it's not half bad for making beats on it's own!

new jack throwback mpc expansion

Another formattable tool for New Jack Swing music (or 90s R&B) is the Yamaha DX7 but a great (and affordable) alternative is Arturia's Analog Lab V. This can take care of a lot of sounds. It has heavy bass presets, the classic DX7 bells, and those 80's/90's fm electric pianos that dominated music back then!

arturia analog lab v vst plugin 

If your wondering what are the elements behind the group Guys hit NJS record "Groove Me". Well, the first element behind those uplifting organs are a part of the song "The Champ" by the group The Mohawks. You'll find many people have used this sample in both hip hop and R&B!

the mohawks the champ organ

Another huge sample heard all through the 80's/90's is the famous "yeah" sample. Look no further than James Brown (the God father of soul). Makes total sense right?

james brown my thang

Now, you're good to go on everything necessary to produce that New Jack Swing!!

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