“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)

“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)

“Crucial (single remix)” by New Edition (1989)

On the Heart Break album, “Crucial” was one of the more incidental tracks. Despite most of the album being produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, the LP version of “Crucial” was helmed by former Time drummer Jellybean Johnson. It was a decent Minneapolis funk song. Not bad, but not a standout. Remixed and issued as Heart… Read More “Crucial (single remix)” by New Edition (1989)

“Come and Talk to Me” by Jodeci (1991)

Two things elevate “Come and Talk to Me” to a level above the average new jack swing ballad: K-ci Hailey and Sean “Puffy” Combs. Without those two elements (the latter of which was not present on the song’s original version) “Come and Talk…” is a pretty standard early ‘90s R&B ballad. Boy meets girl, boy wants to chat up… Read More “Come and Talk to Me” by Jodeci (1991)

“Can’t Let Her Get Away” by Michael Jackson (1991)

Teddy Riley was the best option for Michael Jackson when he was elected to take the reins of production from Quincy Jones. Q was famously behind the boards for MJ’s three career-making albums; 1979’s Off The Wall, 1982’s Thriller and 1987’s Bad. Even by the time the last album was recorded, pop and R&B music… Read More “Can’t Let Her Get Away” by Michael Jackson (1991)