Njs4ever.com is the first and most recognized hub for all things New Jack Swing on the planet, and it is a lightening rod for New Jack Swing enthusiasts worldwide. Featuring artist interviews, biographies, music videos and an online community, Njs4ever.com was recognized by VH1's Hip-Hop Honors in 2007 as the "Official" New Jack Swing Website and nominated for Best Honoree Website that year. Now in 2010 and beyond, NJS4E shall remain a shining beacon for all those who remember and continue to celebrate and bond over the New Jack Swing!
For more "corporate" information, please visit Njs4ever.net
Below please find a year-by-year history of Njs4ever.com:
1999-2000: While attending the University of California at Santa Barbara, Andrew Knyte decides to put his love of music into action by focusing on a genre of music he considered to be criminally overlooked: New Jack Swing. In his mind, if the genre could be considered dead, he at least wanted to give it a "proper burial" by recognizing its impact on popular music, while at the same time also recognizing that the media images of African Americans perpetuated during the New Jack Era were a lot more positive than the stereotypes that Gangsta Rap offered. It was the combination of these two factors that galvanized Knyte into picking up the torch for New Jack Swing - not only as a form of music, but also as an aesthetic and mindset: one that was distinctly urban, yet inclusive of all backgrounds for both enjoyment and participation/creation. The featured photo is from Knyte's radio show at UCSB's college station, KCSB-FM, combining both his aspirations to become a broadcaster with his passion of New Jack Swing, and the socioligical message behind it.
2001-2002: In the fall of 2001, Knyte begins to write the year-by-year essays and starts an Angelfire account, slowly but surely learning his way around website creation. Inspired by a tribute site to Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis called The New Style, and two New Edition websites by Ken12 and Lizzo13, Knyte sets out to create a website that captures the entire era, calling it New Jack Swing 4-Ever. It went live in December 2001, the URL "Njs4ever.com" was created on February 13th 2002, and the site was considered complete by March 2002, featuring a "Hall of Fame," "Year By Year History" and "Latest News" section. In December 2002, Njs4ever scored its first major interview when musician and producer Bernard Belle reached out to Knyte. Product manager Randy O'Kelly of Time Life Music also reached out to Knyte at this point, setting in motion plans to contribute to a New Jack Swing album for release in 2003.
2003-2004: New Jack Swing 4-Ever started to reach its first global audience at this point, as its original guestbook included notes by future NJS4E staff members such as Nathan "DJ Freez'" Veenstra and UK-based indie-soul artist Jon-Paul. By early summer 2003, an Australian-based web host (thank you Shai N!) offered NJS4E complimentary hosting, permitting the site to move away from Angelfire into a less amatuer setting. At this point, Knyte also reached out to UK-based Eleonora Cutaia of Underground-Soul.com to design a new website and logo for the site, which was delivered in summer 2003. Thus, the NJS4E logo was born, and henceforth the site began to be referred to as NJS4E. Time Life's Body & Soul: New Jack Swing album was released in July 2003, followed by the soft launch of NJS4E 2.0, featuring links to New Jack Swing music videos. The site began a dramatic rise in popularity and traffic, driven by the fact it was the only place to view New Jack Swing videos all in one place. By October 2003, the new Njs4ever.com was being discussed and linked to all over the web. In December 2003, Knyte decided a forum was needed, much like Underground-Soul's forum in order to harness the burgeoning traffic and create an online community and on Christmas Day 2003, the phpBB forum was created, launching on January 13th, 2004.
Throughout the first half of 2004, Njs4ever.com collaborated with MocRadio.com and offered two hour online radio experiences (thanks to MOC founder Lorenzo "LC" Caldwell). Then in July 2004, NJS4E member Keith "ZappMan" Crenshaw landed the website's first video interview ever, with Guy lead vocalist Aaron Hall in Los Angeles. By the end of 2004, the NJS4E forum had truly established a life of its own that was in some ways an off-shoot and separate from Njs4ever.com. It was a place to have fun and talk about New Jack Swing, but mostly just to have fun. Interestingly enough, most of the forum members were not from the United States - rather, the UK turned out to be the most heavily represented, followed by other European nations such as the Netherlands, France, Australia, and Denmark. NJS4E was now certifiably becoming an international network.
2005-2006: NJS4E continued to grow in popularity and the forum in particular seemed to be particularly abuzz with excited New Jack Swing fans all over the world thankful for finallly finding a place where they could meet people with similar interests. It was also during this period that Keith "ZappMan" Crenshaw landed video interviews with Troop, Dave Way, and an extensive interview with Teddy Riley, creator of the New Jack Swing sound. By late July 2005, a pivotal moment occured when Los Angeles-based ZappMan arranged a follow-up meeting with Riley backstage at a concert featuring Guy, Bell Biv Devoe, BLACKStreet, Johnny Gill (with surprise guest Gerald Levert) and K-Ci and JoJo. Future NJS4E executive Vijay "Joe Decidal" Chandegra decided to fly out from London to join Knyte and ZappMan for this event, marking the first time Knyte and Vijay would meet. The night culminated in a dinner at Mel's Diner on Sunset Strip, solidifying a relationship between NJS4E and the originator of the music, Teddy Riley.
Just a few short weeks later, Vijay held the first official NJS4E party at The Fine Line venue in London on August 13th, 2005 - allowing the NJS4E forum members to meet in person for the first time. Knyte was not able to attend, but he did record a special message for the gathering (as did Teddy Riley when NJS4E ate with him in Los Angeles).
You can view both greetings here:
Knyte's Greeting (watch)
Teddy's Greeting (watch)
Party Overview/JOde's Speech (watch)
Vijay followed up the first party with a second, even more successful party in Camden's Lockside Lounge that October, followed by a third in December, establishing London as the global capital for New Jack Swing parties and taking NJS4E off the screens of the internet and into "real-time" - irreversibly rendering the brand tangible and experiential.
Throughout 2005, NJS4E began streaming online radio again, this time through the efforts of Manchester-based Steven "Stevieswing" Anderson, syndicating his hfm shows, and college student Jarrell "J-Mas" Mason, with his Time Machine shows based out of WUAG-FM in Greensboro, North Carolina. Jarrell Mason would also land an interview with Allen McNeil from Troop, and embark on many, many more radio interviews that would be rebroadcast by this website.
On September 10th, 2005, Njs4ever Networks, LLC is incorporated.
Unfortunately, on November 2nd, 2005 the NJS4E forum was hacked, and all posts between late March through the day of the hacking were lost forever. The hacking threatened to shut down the forum for good, as it was a major blow to the community. However, the forum was relaunched (along with NJS4E 3.0) roughly four weeks after the hacking, in a show of resilience - it was a new beginning for NJS4E: new website, and new forum.
In February 2006, NJS4E held its first official U.S. party in Chicago, near Harpo Studios as an unofficial afterparty to a concert featuring Guy, After 7, and Tony Toni Tone. NJS4E also welcomed two members (Miss Soulful and Niecie on the forum) from Amsterdam's Divazz Entertainment who were in town for the concert. Later that night, Knyte was contacted by Barry Michael Cooper who agreed to sit for an indepth interview for the site. Barry Michael Cooper coined the term "New Jack Swing" in his 1987 Village Voice article on Teddy Riley, and wrote the screenplays for the "Harlem Trilogy" films New Jack City, Sugar Hill, and Above The Rim.
You can read the entire interview in three parts below:
- Barry Michael Cooper Part 1
- Barry Michael Cooper Part 2
- Barry Michael Cooper Part 3
Then on the weekend of March 31st and April 1st, NJS4E held its first Worldwide Meet-up, converging on the city of Amsterdam for an NJS4E party that Friday night, followed by a collaboration with Divazz Entertainment for their ultra successful Reminisce party on Saturday. This would be the first time Knyte set foot in Europe to meet many of his collaborators on the NJS4E movement, and it proved to be a memorable moment for all involved.
Friday night clip (watch)
Knyte's Friday Night speech (watch)
Saturday night clip (watch)
NJS4E launched its MySpace profile on April 16th, and continued to expand its reach across the globe. In June, Knyte and JOde (Vijay) met up with Jeff Redd in Los Angeles, followed by its launch of The Arsenio Hall Petition that fall. Then Knyte visited London for the first time in a whirlwind 24hr trip to appear at an NJS4E party in September.
2007-2008: NJS4E kicked off 2007 on March 3rd with a very strong London party which sold out and had to turn people away. The interviews scored by Jarrell Mason on his Time Machine show started to escalate in profile, including chats with Donnie Simpson (BET's Video Soul, WPGC-FM), Brooke Payne (New Edition manager and one time choreographer), Coko of SWV, Christopher "Play" Martin (Kid N Play), and Steven Russell of Troop. Perhaps one of the most notable interviews conducted by Mason was his almost hour long chat with Danny Wood of New Kids On The Block, who expressed a desire to reunite with the group, and Jarrell predicted that a reunion tour would be ultra successful. And less that six months later, the New Kids announced a reunion. Could it be that Jarrell Mason and NJS4E had something to do with this? Listen to the interview for yourself to judge.
In July of 2007, NJS4E along with music critic Nelson George and Barry Michael Cooper hosted Spotlite, a New Jack Swing 20th anniversary party that took place at the Lotus nightclub. DJs on the night were Scott Melker and Cosmo Baker. The night took an extra special turn when Jeff Redd graciously gave the attendees an impromptu performance that generated well over 15,000 hits when posted on YouTube, thanks in part to the clip being featured on MediaTakeOut.com and SandraRose.com. Clips from that night are available below:
Jeff Redd Performance (watch)
Barry Michael Cooper Interview (watch)
Jeff Redd Interview (watch)
In a move to expand NJS4E's touchpoints, a Blackplanet.com group is formed in late August.
In September, NJS4E held two New Jack Swing 20th Anniversary parties within seven days of each other. The London party took place on September 1st, while the New York party took place on September 8th at Ashford & Simpson's Sugar Bar, thanks to the help of DJ Kev-Ski, original DJ for Doug E. Fresh, and half of late 80s duo Dr. Luv & Kev-Ski. New Jack Swing pioneer Johnny Kemp performed that night as well, marking a special occasion for NJS4E.
Johnny Kemp Performance: (watch)
Johnny Kemp Interview Part 1: (watch)
Johnny Kemp Interview Part 2: (watch)
Not soon after, NJS4E discovered it was nominated for Best Honoree Website for the 2007 VH1 Hip-Hop Honors the year that Andre Harrell and Teddy Riley were recognized for bringing New Jack Swing to Hip Hop. The website came in third place, after websites for A Tribe Called Quest and Snoop Doggy Dogg, ahead of Missy Elliott and Wild Style by popular opinion. VH1 even called Njs4ever.com the "Official New Jack Swing Website" in the months leading up to, and following that year's hip-hop honors.
Knyte and JOde travelled to New York to attend the Hip Hop Honors ceremony, subsequently landing interviews with Andre Harrell, Aqil Davidson (Wrecks N Effect), Jack Knight, Chauncey "Black" Hannibal (BLACKstreet), and more. Some highlights below:
Andre Harrell Interview Part 1: (watch)
Andre Harrell Interview Part 2: (watch)
Andre Harrell Interview Part 3: (watch)
Aqil Davidson Interview Part 1: (watch)
Aqil Davidson Interview Part 2: (watch)
Aqil Davidson Interview Part 3: (watch)
It was also around this time that the organizers of The New Jack Tour partnered with NJS4E to help promote their 2008/2009 tour, featuring Bobby Brown, Aaron Hall, Tony Toni Tone, After 7, Boyz II Men, Bell Biv Devoe, Johnny Gill, and a reformed Levert, minus the late Gerald Levert (not all acts appeared in all cities). Sadly, NJS4E was most likely the last media outlet to interview Sean Levert before his death the following spring. NJS4E's interview with D'Wayne Wiggins of Tony Toni Tone was printed via VIBE.com.
In February 2008, NJS4E covered the Chicago stop of The Ladies Night Out Tour, which was the sequel to the New Jack Tour, featuring Boyz II Men, Johnny Gill, and headliner Bobby Brown. Interviews were conducted with Sean Stockman, Randy Gill, and Bobby Brown, which you can view below (coming soon).
In June 2008, NJS4E held its first party of the year in London, which Knyte attended. It was also in this month that Njs4ever Networks commissioned Twist Musik Media Services to custom build the current version of Njs4ever, originally scheduled planned to launch in the fall. Also taking place this month is NJS4E's entry "Official" entry into facebook with the launch of its Facebook Group, and online profile.
In July 2008, radio programmer Steven Mills joined Njs4ever Networks to read up its radio division, beginning with New Jack Radio, the first 24-hour, fully-staffed "rhythmic adult hit" New Jack Swing radio station. Featuring radio personalities P.J. Butta (92.3 The Beat, Hot 92.3 Los Angeles, Avila Brothers), Nia B, (Power 92 Chicago), a morning show team also featured on Sirius Sattelite Radio, and more, New Jack Radio evolved into CHiLL-FM by early September. Like Jack-FM and MoVin before it, CHiLL-FM has been designed to be a turn-key radio format that can be adopted by terrestrial and satellite radio.
Also in July, NJS4E joined forces with Chicago-based promoter DJ Trew to inject a theme into his already in-progress art-scene party UBERJAM. The result was to create a party that combined New Jack Swing and rhythmic 90s music (old school hip-hop, house, Chicago classics) that took place primarily in Chicago's "hipster" neighborhood, Bucktown/Wicker Park. Since July 19th, 2008, the parties have been taking place every third Saturday of the month.
Njs4ever Networks, LLC launched its corporate website in August 2008, which you can view here.
By the end of 2008, Njs4ever Networks had acquired a radio division, and established an interest in Chicago's UBERJAM parties, and was very close to launching NJS4E 4.0. In London, NJS4E celebrated its 10th party in London, establishing that city as the global epicenter for New Jack Swing appreciation on the planet, with Amsterdam, New York, and Los Angeles all vying for runner-up status.
NJS4E was also thrilled to assist Guy member Damion Hall with his Los Angeles-based parties, Old Skool Vibez, which featured special guest Al B. Sure! on one occasion, as well as CHiLL-FM's PJ Butta in attendance.
2009 - Current:
Despite the debilitating effects of the Great Recession, NJS4E can be counted on to continue to be a homebase and lightning rod for all things New Jack Swing worldwide! Continue to visit the site for updates and interviews with your favorite New Jack artists, concerts, events and more.