New Jack Swing - Mr. Bernard Belle - Page Two

Njs4ever: When you were working in the studio on the ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ album, did you ever think that "My Prerogative" was going to be as big as it was?

B. Belle: Well honestly, everything we set out to do, we set out to make successful.

Njs4ever: Could you describe what it was like working with Bobby Brown?

B. Belle: Bobby Brown was a ball of energy, and Bobby was never tired. Bobby and I clicked. In the studio, if you told him to do something and it didn’t come out right, he’d be willing to do it over, and over, and over again. He was going to do whatever it took to get the project done when he was in the studio while we were recording for the ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ album. That’s the best way to describe Bobby back then – he was hungry.

Njs4ever: For people just discovering New Jack Swing music, what albums or songs would you recommend they check out?

B. Belle: Certainly Keith Sweat’s first album, and definitely Guy’s first album, which is the landmark recording for New Jack Swing. If you looked up "new jack swing" in the dictionary, it should have a picture of Guy’s first album because I think that is the perfect representation of what New Jack Swing is. That album was so special, we toured for two years between ’88 and ’90 off of just that one album.

Njs4ever: Would you say there were other people who were able to emulate NJS based on your source material?

B. Belle: To be honest, everyone else who did New Jack Swing – in my opinion – was like a strong Pepsi with a bunch of ice that sat on the counter while the ice weakened the Pepsi. If we weren’t doing it, it just wasn’t as hard, and it just wasn’t as gritty. You could always tell one of Teddy’s productions – if Teddy did it, you would know. And I think one of the closest producers that can come to that today is Timbaland. You definitely know a Timbaland track when you hear it. You also know a Neptunes track when you hear it, because they have a sound. And even though others can probably emulate guys like Timbaland and the Neptunes, those guys have a distinct feel, and you’ll always know when it’s them.

Njs4ever: Interestingly enough, both Timbaland and the Neptunes are Teddy Riley protégés…

B. Belle: Exactly. A huge chunk of the things going on in the music world today are an extension of New Jack Swing. If everybody who was signed to Teddy was still signed to Teddy he’d have Rodney Jerkins, he’d have the Neptunes, he’d have Timbaland, he’d have Keith Sweat…and Teddy definitely has a lot of "grandbabies" so to speak in the music industry right now.

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