Various Artists

Gold: New Jack Swing

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The flashy style of hip-hop-inspired contemporary R&B neologized by journalist Barry Michael Cooper -- in an October 1987 Village Voice feature on innovative producer and Guy leader Teddy Riley -- gets a surprising and thoughtful overview through a two-disc volume in Hip-O/Universal's extensive Gold series. It's not definitive, but it's representative. More significantly, it's a rare anthology capable of wowing casual listeners on a nostalgia trip, as well as collectors. Rather than merely compile album versions and single edits of the biggest hits in the Universal-distributed catalog, Hip-O goes deep with some dubs, extended mixes, and remixes. For every two massive crossover hits (such as Keith Sweat's Riley-produced "I Want Her" and Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative") there's a forgotten R&B hit or a buried gem, such as Jeff Redd's "You Called a Told Me" -- an exemplary but low-charting single rightly considered a classic by NJS fanatics. Some might be surprised by the presence of Al Green, but he appears with a track produced by Al B. Sure! and Kyle West, who don't get enough credit for their contribution to the style's genesis and development.

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