Teddy Riley is Bringing New Jack Swing Back?
Fans of New Jack Swing will soon see the influential ‘80s R&B and rap music era immortalized on the big screen. According to legendary producer and New Jack Swing creator Teddy Riley, the film will detail the rise and cultural and commercial explosion of the groove-heavy, keyboard-driven sound kicked off by Keith Sweat’s 1987 landmark album Make It Last Forever. Riley’s swinging production style instantly dominated R&B and hip hop music and eventually pop with Michael Jackson.
“We are getting ready to do a movie chronicling the early New Jack Swing era,” Riley told VIBE. “It’s going to be the new millineum Krush Groove and Boyz In The Hood all rolled up in one. New Jack City (the classic 1991 street film starring Wesley Snipes) was just scratching the surface. Barry Michael Cooper, the same writer who wrote New Jack City, originally gave my music the name New Jack Swing. So Barry and I put our heads together to do this film.”
While the movie is still being developed, Riley promises an insightful look inside the New Jack Swing scene as well as the artists and industry people who made it all happen.
“We are starting the film in the ‘80s, so part 1 will be before Michael Jackson. We are covering everything from Guy and Bobby Brown to modern R&B’s first beef, which was between Guy and New Edition. It’s going to be written by Barry Michael Cooper, with input from myself and Jeff Dyson, who was New Edition’s security. The truth shall be revealed.”
However, Riley says he won’t be handling any acting duties. He’s going to leave such thespian pursuits to the professionals.
“There will be someone playing Teddy Riley, but I’ll be narrating the film,” he explains. “The [characters] of the movie are the people who helped create the movement. The real actual people won’t be in it. We’ll have some great actors to come in and play people like Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston, and Guy. This is my time to really think outside of the box. I’m doing what I never got the chance to do which is to show how important a movement New Jack Swing really was.” —Keith Murphy