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NYC: New Jack Swing with CMB

July 18, 2007

We know it's kinda last minute, but if you ever, ever held a place in your heart for Wesley Snipes or Teddy Riley, you need to go to Cosmo Baker and Scott Melker's New Jack Swing party tonight at Lotus. We feel bad springing this on you so late, so we asked Cosmo some questions about how the party came about and what inspired he and Scott's Live at the Spotlite mix which you can buy from Cosmo himself or the fine folks at Turntable Lab. Make the jump for the party flyer and Q+A and get to that party or it's ROCK-A-BYE BABY!

What made you and Scott decide to put this mix and party together?

Scott and I know each other from Philly, and we started doing a weekly party together down in the East Village about 2 years ago. We were playing everything but it became this friendly game of one-upmanship when it came to us playing forgotten New Jack Swing hits. We really got into it and the crowd started loving it and coming strictly for the Swing sessions we were throwing. We eventually stopped that party but decided to do a mix with all our favorites of the genre as a tribute, and being that we're both huge fans of the movie New Jack City we started calling ourselves The CMB (Cosmo/Melker/Brothers.)

What was the first New Jack song you remember hearing? What was your reaction.

Honestly growing up, New Jack Swing was also the pop music of the day, and being a hardcore hip-hop head, I hated on it externally, but secretly I loved the stuff. It's like cotton candy - so BAD but SO GOOD. And also super sweet, like some of the first stuff I got into in the early 80s which was like the early New Edition stuff. New Jack Swing was like the new version, the hip version, of the tepid contemporary R&B of the time.

Was it a tough decision to keep Kwamé off the mixtape?

There just wasn't enough room for his gumby hairdo on the cover! Honestly though, there's so much stuff we left off, an in retrospect we said "Oh shit, we forgot Jeff Redd, or Heavy D" or whatever, but there just wasn't enough room on one disk. But that's the stuff that sequels are made of.

How tough was it to compile the mix? What are some of the songs you love that didn't make it?

We basically just got together at my studio and decided to play the mix like we would have played a party - banger after banger. As for what was left off, like I said - that's for Volume 2: Return to The Spotlite. But guaranteed that on that mix Redhead Kingpin is going to be getting it in.

Can you pick a handful of tracks and explain how they defined different segments/movements within New Jack?

Well off hand I would say there's the New Jack Swing flavored rap, like Big Daddy Kane's "I Get The Job Done" or rap flavored New Jack Swing like TLC, or straight New Jack Swing like joints from Portrait, or the New Jack Swing flavored R&B like the stuff that Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis were doing, but it all falls underneath the same umbrella-ella-ella-ay-ay.

Have you heard anything about ABC since they fell off ie went through puberty?

No, but there's a current photo circulating the internet of KG Hailey, Christopher Williams and Tevin Campbell. Let me tell you something, it's not pretty.

Have you ever seen Father MC and Chris Rock in the same room together?

Father MC is the Superman to Chris Rock's Clark Kent. That's a little known secret.

Are you encouraging people to come dressed appropriately? Doorknockers, steel toe caps, bleached sections in their hi-top fades?

All of the above, but don't forget the Girbaud overalls, with one strap off.

What dance moves should people be practicing for tonight?

Strictly THE WOP, my friend. Strictly The Wop.

Posted: July 18, 2007
NYC: New Jack Swing with CMB