“Groove Me” by King Floyd (1970)/”Groove Me” by Guy (1988)

Here are two funky songs with the same title. Both songs pointed towards a shift in Black music. I can explain the difference in the two songs using Soul Train gifs, which is pretty awesome. Here’s a gif that, to me, exemplifies King Floyd’s “Groove Me”. It’s dirty, backwoods funky. Which makes sense, because King… Read More “Groove Me” by King Floyd (1970)/”Groove Me” by Guy (1988)

“Got To Have Your Love” by Mantronix feat. Wondress (1989)

Mantronix was a hip-hop outfit led by DJ Curtis Mantronik. Originally, Mantronix’s music was firmly old-school electro rap in the “Planet Rock”/Whodini vein. As times changed, so did Mantronix’s sound. By 1989, Curtis’s crew had undergone personnel shifts, a label change (to Capitol from indie Sleeping Bag) and a sonic renovation. “Got To Have Your… Read More “Got To Have Your Love” by Mantronix feat. Wondress (1989)

“Friends” by Jody Watley feat. Eric B. & Rakim (1989)

Nowadays, it’s beyond commonplace to see a popular singer team up with a rapper. When Jody Watley did it with “Friends”, it was a rarity–if even that. I’m actually struggling to think of a team up that predates friends, outside of gimmick collaborations between rappers and rock and roll has-beens (see: Run-DMC & Aerosmith¹ and… Read More “Friends” by Jody Watley feat. Eric B. & Rakim (1989)

“Dreamlover” by Mariah Carey (1993)

Mariah Carey’s first two albums were…interesting from a stylistic standpoint. She was clearly a soul singer, but there seemed to be an emphasis on making her music not incredibly progressive. The edgiest early Mariah got was the new-jack remix of “Someday” (who can forget her regrettably doing the running man in the video?) or maybe… Read More “Dreamlover” by Mariah Carey (1993)

“Don’t Wanna Fall In Love (New Jack Swing Remix)” by Jane Child (1990)

After a one-song break to accommodate Rick Springfield’s finest moment, Teddy Riley returns to give another white singer some extra flavor. Jane Child got more attention for her look than her music, which was fairly prototypical L.A. pop/soul. She rocked feathered hair on top with cornrows on the bottom. She also had a nose ring… Read More “Don’t Wanna Fall In Love (New Jack Swing Remix)” by Jane Child (1990)

“Don’t Take My Mind On A Trip” by Boy George (1989)

Boy George is, was and always will be a soul singer (direct precedent: Smokey), so partnering him with Teddy Riley for a couple songs on 1989’s High Hat was a masterstroke on behalf of George’s American record company (although they had no motive in mind other than making a hit, which is kinda what record… Read More “Don’t Take My Mind On A Trip” by Boy George (1989)

“Don’t Be Cruel” by Bobby Brown (1988)

Bobby Brown’s ascension in earnest to superstar status began with summer ‘88’s “Don’t Be Cruel”, a truly inventive melange of funk and hip-hop. Back when singers sang and rappers rapped, songwriter/producers L.A. Reid & Babyface did a fantastic job fusing Bobby’s rap-informed persona with the melodic R&B that was their stock-in-trade. It also presented Bobby… Read More “Don’t Be Cruel” by Bobby Brown (1988)