Bubbling up to the pop surface after the hits of '70s and '80s love walruses such as Barry White had all but dried up, Keith Sweat is a living, breathing link from those disco-era pioneers to the Autotune-addicted rappers of today. Sweat is one of the last kings of the slow jam. Forget the ringtone-ready street anthems of T-Pain and Lil Wayne; Sweat's songs contain more than hooks — they're invitations to love.
Sweat helped bring the slow jam from its roller-rink roots to its penthouse present, all while displaying his rather uncanny sense of timing and vocal delivery. If the aforementioned T-Pain and Lil Wayne need a vocal processor to sound nasally and ready for love, Sweat did it naturally, with a sense of class, and with a touch of hip-hop's flair. It was called new jack swing.
Sweat's popularity reached an apex in 1996 with the release of his self-titled album. It garnered two top five singles ("Twisted" and "Nobody") and went platinum four times. The album's cover featured Sweat sitting on a throne, and it was appropriate. For a shining moment, Sweat was new jack king.
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Although Sweat isn't the soundtrack to everyone's more intimate moments today, the appeal of his music is still strong. He currently hosts The Sweat Hotel, a slow-jam-heavy radio show aired in 20 cities. So when Keith Sweat brings his slow-jam-heavy, new-jack-swinging affair to Mansion, expect some fond memories to be relived and some new ones to be made. And in nine months, South Florida's birth rate might well explode.