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.
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.
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