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The Best MTV Video Music Awards Performances (15 to 1) [Showstoppers]

Posted by ThatsMyJamRadio on September 12, 2010

The 2010 MTV Video Music Awards air tonight! We’ve already discussed who we thought should headline the show, but now it’s time to commemorate those who left lasting impressions on the VMA stage. Rookies: take notes on our 30 favorite performances, presented in countdown order. (Check out 30-16 first!)

15. Backstreet Boys – “I Want It That Way/Larger Than Life” (1999)
A high-energy effort that blends song and dance.

14. Beyoncé feat. Jay-Z – “Baby Boy/Crazy In Love” (2003)
Though Bey was hanging upside down, viewers were the ones who were dizzy after this whirlwind throwdown.

13. Usher feat. Lil Jon & Ludacris – “Confessions Pt. 2/Yeah!” (2004)
Besides the hotness of Usher’s striptease, the heat was turned up with a trampoline that brought the bounce.

12. New Edition – Medley (1990)
The FIRST on-stage appearance of all six members of New Edition, plus a slew of solo hits.

11. En Vogue – “Free Your Mind” (1992)
Real sangin’ and dancing? En Vogue could do no wrong with this funky rock number.
Watch here!

10. Britney Spears – “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction/Oops! … I Did It Again” (2000)
It’s all about the body, and Britney showed off hers in a sheer suit while gyrating away her sorrow.

9. Michael Jackson – “Dangerous” (1995)
The original performance is much longer and much more involved, but a little “Billie Jean” and some “Smooth Criminal” help make this “Dangerous” routine. Proceed with caution.

8. Janet Jackson – “That’s the Way Love Goes/If” (1993)
Simple, subtle, subdued. No wonder viewers are drawn in, hungry for more, until it explodes in the form of the technically hypnotic choreography of “If.”

7. Beyoncé – “Single Ladies” (2009)
How does one re-invigorate the most imitated dance routine of the year? By bringing out 30 or so sexy ladies to give it some pop.

6. Paula Abdul – “Straight Up/Cold Hearted/Forever Your Girl” (1989)
From tap dancing to aerial acrobatics to innuendo-laden moves, Paula proves she was an idol long before that singing show.

5. NSYNC – “This I Promise You/Bye, Bye, Bye/It’s Gonna Be Me” (2000)
They don’t call these guys NSYNC for nothing, and the intricate TV routine demonstrates how true the moniker is. The party at the end also doesn’t hurt.

4. Madonna – “Express Yourself” (1989)
Quite tame compared to performances since, but the Running Man, Madge’s first time publicly voguing and around-the-stage antics engage in a “less is more” kind of way.

3. TLC – “No Scrubs” (1999)
Mellow at first, picks up in the middle and the end — well, let’s just say, if you haven’t seen this performance, you’ll be more than a little surprised at how well TLC gets down.

2. Chris Brown feat. Rihanna – “Wall to Wall/Umbrella/Kiss Kiss” (2007)
During happier times for the pair, Breezy saved this dry-as-a-bone VMAs with an electric performance of his then-new material and stunning new love interest, Rihanna.

1. Britney Spears & NSYNC – “…Baby One More Time/Tearin’ Up My Heart” (1999)
Two superstars before their peak, no filler material and all funky. Britney and NSYNC school their peers on how to properly share a performance slot on the VMA stage.

Posted in 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, Backstreet Boys, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Chris Brown, En Vogue, Janet Jackson, Jay-Z, Lil Jon, Ludacris, Madonna, Michael Jackson, MTV, New Edition, NSYNC, Paula Abdul, Performances, Rihanna, TLC, Usher | 5 Comments »

New Jack Swing 4 Ever [Vintage That’s My Jam]

Posted by on March 28, 2010

[Originally published 06.04.08]

While hip-hop and R&B are almost impossible to differentiate in today’s music landscape, that wasn’t always the case. In the late 1980s, the two were proudly separate genres until producer Teddy Riley pioneered a fusion between the street-oriented beats and traditional R&B vocals called new jack swing. Riley, along with Aaron Hall and Timmy Gatling, formed the genre’s premier group, Guy, whose self-titled debut album featured classics such as “Groove Me,” “Teddy’s Jam,” “I Like,” and a personal favorite, “You Can Call Me Crazy.”

What soon followed was a near domination of R&B and pop radio by new jack swing acts such as Al B. Sure!, Keith Sweat and Bobby Brown; television shows such as A Different World, In Living Color and The Arsenio Hall Show giving air time to the music and the artists; mainstream performers such as Paula Abdul, Jeremy Jordan and New Kids on the Block embracing elements of the genre; and high-profile artists such as Michael and Janet Jackson devoting nearly entire albums to the sound that was popular until the early 1990s.

That’s My Jam chatted with two members of the NJS4E (New Jack Swing 4 Ever) Family about their Web site,, which pays homage to new jack swing’s founders, heroes and contributors.

THAT’S MY JAM: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, gentlemen. First, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Vijay “Jode” Chandegra. I am a professional with a love for all things new jack. The idea behind the site is to promote the music to those that have an interest in it by doing anything we can to get the love out there.
ANDREW KNYTE: Well, my name is Andrew, and I’ve spent time in Canada and the United States, and was born overseas from the West. I like to think I maintain a global perspective on things and I think that shines through on the spirit and personality of

When did you first fall in love with new jack swing?
CHANDEGRA: The moment I heard “Groove Me” by Guy. I used to put it on all of my tapes for about three months straight. I loved “I Want Her” by Keith Sweat before that, but just didn’t know that the genre/sub-genre was called “new jack swing.”
KNYTE: I fell in love with new jack swing during the summer of 1990. I was in the seventh grade back then, and about two years earlier, I, like everyone else in the Canadian city I lived in, were into heavy metal. But new jack swing offered me a form of music that I could more closely identify with, and that spring/summer had some great releases, particularly by BBD, Johnny Gill and En Vogue.

What is it about the music that is so appealing to you and to its fans?
CHANDEGRA: New jack has always been about the good times philosophy. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or don’t have in your pocket. It’s about enjoying life ― no matter what challenges it brings you. If you’re feeling down, then listen to an uptempo new jack track and see how long that frown stays there. You can’t help smiling.
KNYTE: I think for me, new jack is inclusive of everyone. It’s a big party. It’s very positive/upbeat/optimistic, and from a class standpoint, it’s upwardly mobile. There are two aspects to it I guess: the sociopolitical aspect and the entertainment aspect. It’s undeniably entertaining. I mean most pop/R&B music today owes a great deal to NJS. And again, since I’m always thinking on a societal level as well, for me it was a much more pro-social expression of urban culture than, say, gangsta rap.

What are your favorites within new jack swing, such as artists, songs and albums?
CHANDEGRA: Favorite new jack artist would probably be Guy, the creation of Aaron and Damion Hall, and super-producer Teddy Riley. My favorite NJS track varies, but right now it’s Heavy D & The Boyz’s “Is It Good To You.” My favorite new jack album is Michael Jackson’s Dangerous. It was the epitome of the style and no one did it better than MJ on that set.
KNYTE: That’s an easy one for me. Hands down, New Edition. Some would argue that the group isn’t pure new jack, but by 1988, during their Heart Break era, they were undeniably the “cool kids” and all their singles from “If It Isn’t Love” to “N.E. Heartbreak” embodied the burgeoning new jack spirit that had started to emerge in 1987. NJS album? I’d have to give it to The Future by Guy. Musically, they were trying to expand their horizons and become “major league” ― beyond the exploratory mining shaft they excavated with the first album, which is still probably the most important album of the movement. NJS song? Definitely a hard one, but I’d have to give it to … tied between New Edition’s “Crucial” (the eight-minute remix version) and Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Do Me!,” specifically the Wolf and Epic Remix that was featured in the music video. Not a fan so much of the other versions, including the album one.

How did the idea for the parties come about and what goes on at them? Do people dress in clothing from back in the day?
The idea for the parties began as a friend’s get-together. I was going to throw a party for 50 friends where it would be new jack swing, hip-hop soul, classic soul and Golden Era hip-hop being played all night. It turned into NJS4E’s first party and it has just picked up since then. We have now done parties in New York, Amsterdam, Chicago and London, with more planned wherever people demand it. Some people do dress in the new jack clothes of yesteryear. It’s all a bit of fun. The music, the energy and the hassle-free attitude are what make the parties unique.

Why is it important for you and your comrades to continue promoting and informing the public about new jack swing?
Because it’s a forgotten genre. It’s a moment in time that people don’t talk about enough. If I were to go to a club today, they would accommodate all types of requests for house, disco, soul, indie, rock and hip-hop. But new jack seems to be left off. So we thought we would redress the balance. There is clearly a demand for it and the music-buying public is realizing that “music” is not necessarily what the record companies make them believe it is. There are many “urban” artists that do not feel the need to sing about diamond necklaces, drinking Cristal or driving six-liter super cars. There are musicians that still write and sing about love, life and the journey that we all go through. It is about “real” music and making sure that it is something that is not forgotten. That is why we do what we do, and although new jack is only a small part of it, it’s the part that means the most to us.
KNYTE: For me it’s also important because there was a lot of progress ― again, on a social level ― during that time period being made. Using the N-word, calling women by the B-word, and making pot-smoking a lifestyle to be proud of, without a thought toward moving up in the world and being a productive member of society, were definitely not what the New Jack Era was about. TV shows like A Different World, being set on a historically black college campus on prime-time network TV? I think that was a pretty big deal. And it seems almost unthinkable now that a show like that could survive on prime-time network TV. I think in many ways, “urban” culture has taken strides backward since new jack ended. We’re seeing some improvements now, but the mid-’90s through the early ’00s were definitely depressing for me. “Laffy Taffy” by D4L and “Ai Yi Yi” by the Ying Yang Twins, for me, are just frankly embarrassing ― no disrespect to those artists. We can do better, and with NJS, we did do better. What I’m trying to say musically is that during that time, there was diversity in how urban culture was presented. For every clown you had like Biz Markie you had a smooth dude like [Big Daddy] Kane, a political dude like KRS-One or Chuck D., and maybe a gangsta like Ice Cube. Lately, it seems like urban culture, particularly hip-hop, is either a gangsta or a clown. Nothing in the middle, but Kanye and Jay-Z helped out towards that end a lot. Like I was saying before, during the NJS Era, we did better. And I want to make sure we don’t forget that. This means a lot to me.

What has been your greatest success with the site?
Our greatest accolade would be being nominated for a prestigious Vh1 Hip-Hop Honor Award for “Best Honoree Web site.” That was the greatest validation that we could have hoped for. It meant that we were doing something right. Vh1 is a great supporter of “black” music and its heritage, and coming from them was an honor. Also, the way in which the artists and producers from the genre have welcomed the “push” towards “real” music that we have tried to propel and continue to strive towards.
KNYTE: I would agree with Vijay on that, but I still think we’re still only getting started. My vision for NJS4E and its impact on the cultural zeitgeist of how music is perceived and consumed among the general public is quite staggering. And we’re taking steps toward making that vision a reality.

Besides your own site, are there any other sources you recommend to new jack fans to get information or listen to the music?
The world has changed so much since new jack was around. Fans of the artists can actually get in touch with a lot of the artists themselves via MySpace and other social networking sites. Someone said to me recently, “Doesn’t it detract from these artists’ superstar status to be directly in touch with the fans?” I responded by saying, “No. It actually shows that the artists are actually human beings. What better way of reacting to a fan’s loyalty and support than to say it yourself?”
KNYTE: I would just do a Google search. Wikipedia can do an excellent job of pointing you in the right direction, too. So can YouTube.

What artists/songs of today do you recommend to fans who maybe haven’t “moved beyond” new jack swing?
There are some artists that are being quite creative with their songwriting and musical journey. Ne-Yo is very good songwriter and his songs tend to evoke a lot of emotion.
KNYTE: There is a new guy on the scene named Ryan Leslie. Check him out. I’d also watch a new guy named Nasri. He’s currently making music for the reunited NKOTB, but his influences are all new jack swing (it says on his MySpace profile ― look at the artists) and I have a feeling he could be huge.

Is there anything else you’d like That’s My Jam readers to know about new jack swing and
We have a lot in store for 2008. We are doing a tribute concert for Kenny Greene of the R&B group Intro. He was the guy that spearheaded the careers of Mary J. Blige, SWV and Ashanti. That’s going to take place in New York in October. We have a few other surprises in store too, so watch this space at
KNYTE: Here is one thing I would like to say: if you dig what we are doing, consider rocking one of our T-shirts. It would do a lot to support what we are doing, and I’ll be more than happy to make sure you are taken care of if you ever make it to one of our events. You can grab one of the T-shirts at the Web site, look on the left side and click on “store.” As far as the United States is concerned, even though the site started here, we are frankly getting more love in Europe. So I’m asking the Americans who are reading this ― if you want a new jack event in your neck of the woods, let us know. Hit us up on MySpace ― we’ve done three events in New York City in the past year, and one in Chicago in 2006. But we are eyeing Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. If your city isn’t listed, get our attention. And another thing ― the new Web site will be launching in late August. And more surprises are on the way towards late ’08. So get ready. Alright, that’s it! Thanks for reading everyone!

Posted in A Different World, Aaron Hall, Al B. Sure!, Andrew Knyte, Arsenio Hall Show, Ashanti, Bell Biv DeVoe (BBD), Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Chuck D., D4L, Damion Hall, En Vogue, Features and Interviews, Guy, Heavy D & The Boyz, Ice Cube, In Living Color (TV), Intro, Janet Jackson, Jay-Z, Jeremy Jordan, Johnny Gill, Kanye West, Keith Sweat, Kenny Greene, KRS-One, Mary J. Blige, Michael Jackson, Nasri, Ne-Yo, New Edition, New Jack Swing 4 Ever (NJS4E), New Kids on the Block, Opinion, Paula Abdul, R&B, Ryan Leslie, SWV, Teddy Riley, Timmy Gatling, Vh1, Vijay Chandegra, Ying Yang Twins | Leave a Comment »

Ladies of New Jack Swing [Playlist]

Posted by ThatsMyJamRadio on March 6, 2010

Welcome to the first Playlist of the relaunch! Here, we’ll theme and compile 10 or so music videos for your viewing pleasure. This week’s theme — as indicated in the title of this post — is the Ladies of New Jack Swing.

As the early hybrid of hip-hop and R&B, this innovative style was mostly an all-boys club in its early days. Thankfully, the women in this mix stepped up their swag and delivered some genre gems. We’ve tried to present a cross section of artists here, so click and start watching these videos.

Posted in Ex-Girlfriend, Good 2 Go, Good Girls, Janet Jackson, Jasmine Guy, Paula Abdul, Pebbles, R&B, Sheena Easton, Tara Kemp, Tisha Campbell, Videos, Whitney Houston | Leave a Comment »

Meet That’s My Jam in 42 Songs [About Us]

Posted by ThatsMyJamRadio on February 21, 2010

Welcome — or welcome back — to That’s My Jam!

For rookies and veterans who forgot, That’s My Jam is a blog devoted to exploring the familiar, forgotten and future of dance, pop and R&B music. We curate the history and happenings of these rhythmic-based genres, and the artists who compose and perform them.

Why make the connection and focus on these? Well, dance, pop and R&B are three genres within popular music that overlap, influence and complement each other. Artists constantly blur the lines between them, leading to crossover success on the Billboard charts, audio variety on albums, and airtime in diverse nightclubs and on radio stations around the globe.

But we recognize that they are not interchangeable — each has its own recipe and distinct flavor.

We aim to please the palate of those who love listening to dance, pop and/or R&B — from aficionados to casual fans. Because of the amount of video on this site, we’re heavily skewed to the MTV Generation and beyond… you know, the people who remember and grew up listening to electro funk, freestyle, new jack swing, hip-hop soul, Euro dance, deep house, trance, teen pop, the Latin explosion, neo soul, crunk & B, hip-pop and more.

Our readers also appreciate the innovative sounds that have influenced today’s performers (think Motown and disco), as well as those artists making noise abroad.

That’s My Jam has always strived to be a fun, informative and regularly updated source about dance, pop and R&B — from our humble beginnings in 1998 with a La Bouche fan page, to1999’s Jams & Grooves on Hotmail/MSN groups, to the Countrygeto eCircle in 1999, to our Blogger site that’s been serving up the goods in healthy-sized portions since 2007.

We’re glad to have you joining us on our journey to explore all things dance, pop and R&B! Now that the formalities are out of the way, familiarize yourself with our musical taste —and hopefully yours as well — with this playlist.

S.O.S. Band“Just Be Good To Me” [1983]

Shannon“Give Me Tonight” [1984]

Sade“The Sweetest Taboo” [1985]

George Michael“Father Figure” [1987]

Jody Watley“Don’t You Want Me” [1987]

Paula Abdul“Knocked Out” [1988]

Bobby Brown“Don’t Be Cruel” [1988]

Karyn White“Secret Rendezvous” [1989]

Madonna“Express Yourself” [1989]

Seduction“You’re My One and Only (True Love)” [1989]

Cherrelle“Everything I Miss at Home” [1989]

Pebbles“Giving You the Benefit” [1990]

Guy“Wanna Get With U” [1990]

En Vogue“You Don’t Have to Worry” [1990]

Lisa Fischer“How Can I Ease the Pain” [1991]

Tara Kemp“Piece of My Heart” [1991]

Lisette Melendez“A Day in My Life” [1991]

Mariah Carey“Can’t Let Go” [1991]

Michael Jackson“In the Closet” [1992]

George Lamond“Distant Heart” [1992]

Tisha Campbell“Push” [1992]

Tevin Campbell“Can We Talk” [1993]

Taylor Dayne“Send Me a Lover” [1993]

Aaliyah“Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number” [1995]

TLC“Kick Your Game” [1995]

La Bouche“Sweet Dreams” [1996]

Luther Vandross“Your Secret Love” [1996]

Wild Orchid“Talk to Me” [1997]

3rd Party“Love Is Alive” [1997]

Destiny’s Child“Bills, Bills, Bills” [1999]

Bedrock“Heaven Scent” [1999]

NSYNC“Bye, Bye, Bye” [2000]

Jennifer Lopez“Play” [2001]

Paul van Dyk“Crush” [2003]

Darude“Next To You” [2003]

Janet Jackson“All Nite (Don’t Stop)” [2004]

Narcotic Thrust“I Like It” [2004]

Danity Kane“Damaged” [2008]

Britney Spears“Circus” [2008]

Jazmine Sullivan“Lions, Tigers & Bears” [2009]

Lady GaGa“LoveGame” [2009]

Rihanna“Rude Boy” [2010]

Posted in 3rd Party, Aaliyah, Bedrock, Bobby Brown, Britney Spears, Cherrelle, Danity Kane, Darude, Destiny's Child, En Vogue, George Lamond, George Michael, Guy, Janet Jackson, Jazmine Sullivan, Jennifer Lopez, Jody Watley, Karyn White, La Bouche, Lady GaGa, Lisa Fischer, Lisette Melendez, Luther Vandross, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Narcotic Thrust, NSYNC, Paul van Dyk, Paula Abdul, Pebbles, Rihanna, S.O.S. Band, Sade, Seduction, Shannon, Tara Kemp, Taylor Dayne, Tevin Campbell, Tisha Campbell, TLC, Wild Orchid | Leave a Comment »

Playlist – Ladies of New Jack Swing

Posted by ThatsMyJamRadio on March 23, 2009

Bored at work? Need an energetic soundtrack to keep your day moving? Ready to learn some old-school dance moves? If you answered yes, or are ready to explore some “new” old music, check out That’s My Jam’s continuously playing Ladies of New Jack Swing playlist.

Click here to see the full playlist or watch part of the presentation here.

Posted in Ex-Girlfriend, Good 2 Go, Good Girls, Janet Jackson, Jasmine Guy, Paula Abdul, Pebbles, Sheena Easton, Tara Kemp, Tisha Campbell, Videos, Whitney Houston | Leave a Comment »

Best of the VMAs – Paula Abdul: "Straight Up/Cold Hearted/Forever Your Girl"

Posted by ThatsMyJamRadio on August 24, 2008

The 2008 MTV Video Music Awards air on Sunday, Sept. 7. It’s not That’s My Jam’s intention to make this year’s edition look whack by posting some of our favorite, most entertaining performances from the past, but if that’s the conclusion you draw after watching these memorable snippets, we understand.

From 1989, here’s Paula Abdul with her medley of “Straight Up,” “Cold Hearted” and “Forever Your Girl. (And you gotta love the Arsenio Hall introduction.)

Posted in Paula Abdul, Performances, Videos | Leave a Comment »

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