No. 44: R&B’s Breakbeat Vogue

Last year urban radio was entranced by the hypnotic 4/4 stomp of house music; this year, and much more briefly, R&B seemed smitten with throwback breaks and beats, a nostalgia-triggering retro-bounce sourced either directly from old-school funk records or the sample-heavy hip-hop singles of the late ’80s.

My personal faves were Idolator-wide pick “Girls Around the World” by Lloyd and Swizz Beatz’ Chubb Rocking remix of Mary J. Blige’s “Just Fine.” The former loped, smiling and stoned in the hormonally-charged early spring sun, to the groove of “Ashley’s Roachclip,” that turn-of-the-decade hip-hop and dance-pop staple. (See: Eric B. & Rakim’s “Paid in Full (Seven Minutes of Madness Remix),” among many others.)

Mary’s latest dismissal of day-to-day downers bounced at a tempo just a little too slow to be hip-house. (Both contained slight, bubbly Lil Wayne guest verses, probably a coincidence.) Now, it’s hard to claim a handful of songs as an out-and-out trend, and my ’08-as-a-return-to-’88 pipe dream was unsurprisingly dashed by another year’s worth of digi-drums and synth stabs and a family-sized portion of T-Pain. But if anyone wants to flesh out this post with some more examples* in the comments box, I’d be more than pleased.

Lloyd, “Girls Around the World” [Dailymotion]Mary J. Blige ft. Just Blaze & Lil Wayne, “Just Fine (Remix)” [Dailymotion]80 ’08 (and Heartbreak)

*Perhaps some enterprising blogger and/or bedroom DJ has already compiled some master list and/or megamix of similar productions and retrofits? (There seem to be a few lurking in Idolator corporate rocker Al Shipley’s “Remix Report Card.”) Feel free to link here if so.