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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Malcolm X’s Daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, Speaks On His Legacy And Netflix Docuseries

In commemoration of the 55th anniversary of his assassination, Malcolm X’s daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, spoke out on her father’s legacy and the popular Netflix documentary, Who Killed Malcolm X? 

Speaking with Democracy Now on Friday (Feb. 21), Ilyasah praised the filmmakers behind the six-part docuseries for their work in attempting to uncover, “Who killed our father? Who took the life of a very young man who challenged the moral compass of world nations.”

Ilyasah was just two years old when her father was assassinated in front of her, three of her sisters and her mother, Betty Shabazz, who was pregnant with twins at the time. A week before Malcolm’s murder, the family’s home was firebombed.

Ilyasah has no memory of her father’s assassination which took place on Feb. 21, 1965, inside Harlem's Audubon Ballroom. Malcolm was preparing to give a speech in the venue and invited his family to sit in the front row.

“I’m really grateful that I don’t have memory as my older sisters I’m sure can recollect, being 6 years old and 4 years old, the trauma and chaos and understanding that our father never came home,” she said. “And especially to my mother who was a young woman that actually saw bullets just tear my father’s body apart.”

The interview details the days leading up to Malcolm's death, including France banning him from entry into the country three weeks before his assassination. Malcolm who was only 39 years old when he died, traveled to Europe during the first week of February in 1965. He was turned away at the airport in France without explanation and subsequently forced to fly back to London where he delivered what would become one of his final speeches at the London School of Economics.

“He realized this was bigger than the Nation of Islam,” Ilyasah explained of Malcolm being banned from France. “The Nation of Islam itself did not have the power to keep him [out of France] and France did not want history to include that Malcolm was assassinated on their land. And so that speaks volumes, and my father understood that his life was not just challenged by the Nation of Islam. It was much bigger than that.

“It’s important to look at the work that he was doing,” she added. “Challenging world powers, challenging world nations for taking control of an [unequal] distribution of the world’s wealth.”

Ilyasah also dismantles the notion that her father “miraculously became Malcolm X” after he went to prison by detailing how his upbringing shaped his interest in political activism.

“He was always a leader,” she said. “He was always compassionate, he was always a learned young man. His parents instilled specific values in him and his siblings. The importance of self love, compassion, [and] care.”

Watch the full interview in the video above (Ilyasah’s portion begins at 12:17).

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Gregg DeGuire

Jhene Aiko Reveals Release Date For ‘Chilombo’ Album

Jhene Aiko announced the release date for her third studio album and what appears to be the album artwork on Friday (Feb. 21). The album titled, Chilombo, after Aiko’s sur name, is slated to drop on March 6 and promises to be some of her “realest” work to date.

“Just typed out all the lyrics to the free flows that are #CHILOMBO #phew realest s**t I ever wrote,” the Grammy-nominated tweeted on Monday (Feb. 17). Aiko described the album as an compilation of her previous work. “If sailing soul(s), sail out, souled out and trip had a baby #CHILOMBO.”

just typed out all the lyrics to the free flows that are #CHILOMBO 👏🏼 #phew realest shit i ever wrote....

— Chilombo (@JheneAiko) February 17, 2020

if sailing soul(s), sail out, souled out and trip had a baby #CHILOMBO 🌋

— Chilombo (@JheneAiko) February 17, 2020

Last month, Aiko dropped the track “P*$$Y Fairy (OTW),” which is expected to be on the album. Aiko’s last album, Trip, was released in 2017.

See the Aiko's latest album artwork below.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

"Chilombo" March 6th 🌋

A post shared by Jhené Aiko Efuru Chilombo 🌋 (@jheneaiko) on Feb 21, 2020 at 6:00pm PST

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Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Jojo Announces ‘Good To Know’ Album And Tour

Jojo has a new album, Good to Know, dropping this spring and will be hitting the road for a headlining tour kicking off in April, the singer announced on Friday (Feb, 21).

The album title encompasses all that Jojo has learned “in the past few years,” she explained in a statement. “Every piece of feedback, criticism (internal or external), whatever it is — it’s all just information. And it’s all good! I’ve been lucky to have the space to reflect on my own journey up to now, and I hope people can take comfort in the fact that I am not anywhere near perfect, and I will never sugarcoat anything. We're all constantly living and learning and that’s what makes this life fun.”

The 'Good to Know' tour launches at Seattle’s The Showbox on April 21, and wraps May 30, at First Avenue in Minneapolis. Presale tickets will be available beginning Monday, Feb, 24. Additional tickets go on sale to the public on Friday, Feb. 28.

Click here for more information.

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