Keith Sweat "Make It Last Forever" cover Keith Sweat "Make It Last Forever" cover

What Millennials Should Know About... Keith Sweat's 'Make It Last Forever'

To celebrate Black Music Month, VIBE spotlights some of music's most essential timepieces for Gen Y to get hip to

KEITH SWEAT
Make It Last Forever (1987)

Most Slept On: Anyone who blasted Keith Sweat's debut album during the winter of 1987 understood that the best way to kick it to this R&B classic was to let it run 'til track eight. Which means it's damn near impossible to pick an underrated song given that radio seemingly embraced every cut on this highly influential release which doubles as Teddy Riley's production breakthrough. But if by chance you were told that the future of all mankind depended on you choosing a sleeper track then you should go with Sweat's alluring cover of the Dramatics' regal '70s slow jam "In The Rain." It's not that Sweat re-invents the wheel and tops the Detroit vocal group's Tony Hester-penned classic. It's the fact that the Harlem crooner had the good sense to stick with the proverbial script and keep the moody ballad's atmospheric heart and soul intact.

Lines Best For Status Updates:
-"You may be young but you're ready (Ready to learn)" ("Right And A Wrong Way")
-"I want, I want, I want, I want, I want, I want her...uh-uh/Don't misunderstand me" ("I Want Her")
-"Shooby dooby dooby doo wop, baby/That means I love you, darlin'!" ("How Deep Is Your Love")
-"Forget about the dinner, oh, honey/'Cause the only thing I'm hungry for, oh, baby, is you" ("Don't Stop Your Love")

Bet You Didn't Know: That Make It Last Forever almost got derailed. Before its release, late influential New York DJ and WBLS program director Frankie Crocker decided to premiere Sweat's first single "I Want Her" on his powerful Make-It or Break-It segment. "The people chose to break it," Teddy Riley told The Atlantic in 2012. "They thought it was wack." Good thing Crocker vetoed the vote, kicking off the genesis of a new musical era.

Synopsis: Before the release of the triple platinum Make It Last Forever, soul-based music was operating within two sects: the respected old guard ('70s survivors Frankie Beverly & Maze, Cameo, Luther Vandross, the Isley Brothers, and Patti LaBelle were still staples on what was still remarkably coined as the "black" charts) and the mammoth pop crossover of R&B-based icons Michael Jackson, Prince, and Whitney Houston. That all changed with the emergence of Sweat and Riley. Make It Last Forever gave birth to New Jack Swing, a groundbreaking Riley-conceived sound that married the streetwise swagger of hip-hop with traditional gospel and blues fueled chords. It was young, ambitious, and effortlessly sexy. Kool Herc's DIY children finally had their own music to fall in love to.

The frenetic jams and baby-making soundtracks are unleashed at a furious pace. You want a mid-tempo cool-out groove? "Something Just Ain't Right" should be added to the playlist. "Right and A Wrong Way" arguably possesses the most quoted first line of R&B's late '80s canon (see Status Updates above). "I Want Her," (the first) and most important New Jack Swing statement, shoots out of the gate like a chest-beating sprinter who knows the race is all but a formality. "Make It Last Forever" damn near created another baby boom while "How Deep Is Your Love" makes the case that the more bass, the better.

At the center of it all is Sweat and Riley. The former at times has gotten a bad rap for his overt please-baby-please-baby-please begging theatrics. But that's the magic of Make It Last Forever—and the formula that would allow Sweat to outlast many of his peers into the next decade. You believed the guy when he pleaded for his girl to stay on "Tell Me It's Me You Want": "I know a man ain't supposed to cry/So why don't I just wipe these tears on my eyes?" But it was Riley's genius that gave Sweat's emotional lyrics an infectious platform. The church-reared keyboardist and boy wonder set the stage for how urban music would sound for the next seven years as everyone from Janet Jackson, R. Kelly and Mary J. Blige to the King of Pop himself would latch on to Riley's energy. Guy's self-titled album may have been cooler; Bobby Brown's Don't Be Cruel more of a commercial game-changer; and Michael Jackson's Dangerous was the sound of New Jack Swing going global. But Sweat's genre-shifting Make It Last Forever is the first shot across the bow. This was the new dope. And everybody wanted an invite. —Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)

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Amber Guyger Appeals Murder Conviction In Botham Jean Case

Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger has appealed her murder conviction this week in an effort to receive a shorter sentence, the Star-Telegram reported on Friday (Aug. 7). Guyger is currently serving a 10-year-sentence for fatally shooting Botham Jean inside his apartment in 2018.

Attorneys for Guyger claim that there was insufficient evidence to warrant a conviction. The legal documents reportedly want the murder conviction tossed, or changed to criminally negligent homicide.

“I feel like she received a slap on the wrist for taking my brother’s life,” Botham Jean’s sister Allis Findley. “This tells me that she feels like she didn’t do anything wrong. She did not step on my brother’s toe. She took his life.”

Guyger was found guilty on Oct. 1. She maintains that she entered Jean’s apartment believing that it was her own. Guyger testified that she shot Jean believing that he was an intruder.

“She should have received life, so she should take her 10 years in prison and shut up,” added Findley. “If the court was to do this it would prove that, yes, there is systematic racism and white privilege does prevail over Black life. I’m hoping this appeal gets thrown out and her conviction holds. I’m hoping they overturn the 10 years and give her life instead.”

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Oprah Winfrey Puts Up 26 Billboards Demanding Justice For Breonna Taylor

Oprah Winfrey and the team at O, The Oprah Magazine, erected 26 billboards demanding the arrest of the cops who killed Breonna Taylor. The billboards went up all around Louisville, Kentucky, on Thursday (Aug. 6).

“Demand that the police involved in killing Breonna Taylor be arrested an charged,” the billboards reads. The billboard encourages people to visit UntilFreedom.com (the organization co-founded by Tamika D. Mallory, Mysonne Linen, Angela Pintom and Linda Sarsoir) and includes a quote from Oprah, “If you turn a blind eye to racism, you become an accomplice to it.”

🚨Billboard Alert🚨

26 billboards - for every year of life of #BreonnaTaylor erected in Louisville, KY.

Kentucky will not forget her name. We will get justice for Breonna. pic.twitter.com/rOM2bhVdAy

— untilfreedom (@untilfreedom) August 6, 2020

A drawing of Taylor also covers the Sept. 2020 edition of O Magazine, marking the first time that Winfrey wasn’t the publication’s covergirl. Winfrey decided to use the magazine’s 20th anniversary cover to amplify Taylor’s story.

On March 13, Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was shot to death by former and current Louisville police officers Jonathon Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove. None of them have been charged in her murder.

“She was just like me. She was just like you,” Winfrey wrote on Instagram. “And like everyone who dies unexpectedly, she had plans. Plans for a future filled with responsibility and work and friends and laughter. I think about Breonna Taylor often.

“The September issue honors her life and the life of every other Black woman whose life has been taken too soon.”

See the cover below.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Breonna Taylor. She was just like me. She was just like you. And like everyone who dies unexpectedly, she had plans. Plans for a future filled with responsibility and work and friends and laughter. I think about Breonna Taylor often. Imagine if three unidentified men burst into your home while you were sleeping. And your partner fired a gun to protect you. And then mayhem. What I know for sure: We can’t be silent. We have to use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice. And that is why Breonna Taylor is on the cover of @oprahmagazine. The September issue honors her life and the life of every other Black woman whose life has been taken too soon. Head to OprahMag.com for more—and thank you to @alexis_art, a 24-year-old digital artist, who captured the essence of Breonna. The issue will be available wherever you buy or download magazines on 8/11.

A post shared by Oprah (@oprah) on Jul 30, 2020 at 5:32am PDT

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Watch The Moment T.I. Learns He’s Going To Be A Grandfather

Congratulations are in order for T.I.’s stepdaughter, Zonnique. The singer is expecting her first child with boyfriend and rapper, Bandhunta Izzy (a.k.a Isreal James).

Zonnique, who will be welcoming a daughter with Izzy, surprised Tip with the baby news during an episode of her Fox Soul show The Mix on Wednesday (Aug. 6).

Needless to say, Tip was shocked. So much so, that it took him a minute to actually process the announcement, even after his wife, Tiny, confirmed that they weren’t pranking him.

Zonnique broke the pregnancy news to PEOPLE earlier in the week, and opened up about the drawbacks of being pregnant during a pandemic.  “It really sucks being pregnant during the coronavirus,” she admitted. “At first, I'm like, 'This is the perfect time, like everybody is locked in. I don't have to worry about going out. So if I want to hide it for however long, I can hide.'

“But when it comes to going to doctor's appointments, I go to all of them by myself. I ask every single time, 'Can I bring my boyfriend?' And they're like, 'No, only you can come.' That's been the worst part," she added.

“I'm hoping by the time I'm ready to have the baby it will be over with. But I'm sure it won't be, so I'll be in there with one person, most likely. I'm just trying not to get my hopes too high anymore.”

Peep the video below to see Tip's hilarious reaction to learning that he's going to be a grandfather.

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