I'm not going to say too much here before I let the internet homie Tyler M/@billdifferen get into it. But basically as with their Dariacore piece (the first thing they'd ever written), I asked them to write this Jersey Club piece to put me onto stuff they were deeply into, and I consider myself pretty ignorant about.
Not to say I haven't been listening to Jersey Club for a while. I even interviewed DJ Sliink once before. But my knowledge is pretty basic and I wanted to know more about the roots and especially about the scene in 2021, which seems like it's totally exploded and more exciting than ever.
Suffice to say the assignment was smashed and I now have the honor of presenting to you a perfect example of why I (still) love music blogging: passion and links baby, passion and links.
I think out of anything in this huge weird country, regional club music and its history is one of the most interesting and incredible cultural developments throughout the past half-century. Chicago, Detroit, Philly, Miami, New Orleans (love my state!), D.C., New York, and Baltimore (I can go on and on)––a large majority of today’s music can be traced back to at least one of the those places, which is insane. Chicago took the post-disco years and created one of the most influential genres of all time, house, with trailblazers like Jesse Saunders and Frankie Knuckles leading the way into about 40 years of some of the most important music of our time. Detroit followed suit a little bit later with the just-as-influential giant that is techno, with The Belleville Three sending the music and its region into the far beyond. There are so many different branching paths with how a lot of these scenes came together, some with various regions passing through each other. That is what makes it so beautiful to witness and keep up with. Throughout those 40 years, there has been SO MANY different scenes and genres that have come and gone, but I think one of the most interesting in the past few decades is from the good old Garden State, New Jersey.
Specifically, Newark, New Jersey might honestly be one of the coolest music cities in my eyes. It has served as a portal for incredible dance and music culture for decades now. The huge turning point of Jersey settling into their own style was the emergence of the New Jersey sound in the 1980s, a soulful interpretation of deep house music that is iconic, where clubs in Newark like the legendary Club Zanzibar acted as crucial hubs and popularity-boosters, even pushing the music out to the UK. Throughout the 80s and 90s, with heavily-important Jersey DJs like Tony Humphries and Kerri Chandler, the Jersey-Zanzibar sound gave the region a uniqueness, in a time where places nearby like New York were growing more and more into hip-hop-focused areas. Throughout that time, the New Jersey sound gave us notable stars like the queens of club at the time, Crystal Waters and Jomanda. It is just that smooth, instinctively-danceable feel to the New Jersey sound that makes it so addicting.
But, you’re here to read about the OTHER Jersey club music. You are probably like, “How in the hell did this type of old house stuff morph into whatever the hell this current crazy music is.” Well my friend, let me introduce you to the incredible world known as Baltimore, Maryland. Now if you are clueless about me mentioning Bmore, please remember that I did say that a lot of these scenes come through branching paths, and the Jersey Club we know today is exactly one of those cases. If Baltimore Club never existed, lord knows whether if we ever got to experience the modern Jersey club scene. During most of the 1990s, DJs like Rod Lee, DJ Technics, and DJ Boobie took influence from lots of British hardcore and rave records of the time, as well as bass, house, and hip-hop music. Songs frequently used call-and-response and sampled different types of tunes, whether a clip from a TV show, hip-hop or hardcore song, and utilized the instantly-recognizable irresistible breakbeats that could be seen in early songs like 2 Hype Brothers and A Dog’s groundbreaking track Doo Doo Brown which served as an important framework of the scene throughout its history. It’s just infinitely fun music to dance to. As time went on towards the 2000s, Baltimore Club widened its horizons and gained more popularity through stars like the late great Queen of Baltimore Club K-Swift. Until their sudden tragic death in 2008, K-Swift served as an ambassador for Bmore at the club scene’s peak, giving the rest of the US a peek into the unique culture of beautiful Baltimore.
But again, what does this have to do with Jersey? Welcome the unfathomably influential Newark DJ, DJ Tameil. Tameil, when younger, used to make Chicago house-based tapes, but as the late 90s rolled around, the DJ often took a 3 hour drive down to Baltimore record stores, where he ultimately met Baltimore club legends, Rod Lee and DJ Technics. From there with their blessing, Tameil became known as the guy in Jersey who would play Baltimore tracks, somewhat straying away from the ever-present Jersey sound in Newark at the time. But of course, the unique Jersey culture was going to seep into the Baltimore sound sooner or later, as Tameil started make bassier renditions of these Bmore tracks to later on produce club tunes on his own exactly 20 years ago this month.
As the scene began to take shape in Newark, Tameil joined local DJs Tim Dolla and Mike V to form the Brick City Bandits, which really caused Jersey club to grow, coining the term “Brick City club”and giving us the emergence great producers of the 2000s like DJ Jayhood and DJ Sliink. During that time, the influence of Baltimore was quite apparent, with the choppy vocal samples that Jersey took to another level and abundance of Bmore breaks, but Jersey gave it its own style, with the legendary and also easily-recognizable triplet kick drum pattern that has been the nucleus of every single Jersey club song of the past 20 years. Another famous aspect of Jersey club music created at the time was the infamous “bed squeak” sample. According to Tameil, it is instead surprisingly a chair creaking, as it is a sample taken from the Lil Jon-produced classic Some Cut by Trillville. Just like Baltimore, Jersey took the use of sampling music and just RAN with it. Throughout its history, you can hear popular songs of its time, movies, and different club records being sampled in Jersey club, and as they approached the 2010s, the music itself only got wilder and more “Jersey.” (Years ago, Resident Advisor did a great piece on the origins of Jersey Club if you are interested more on its history)
As the 2010s rolled around, the influence of the internet on club music, just like almost everything at the time, became super apparent. While the decade started to begin, things like Vine and Musical.ly started coming up, opening new horizons into sharing the culture. The importance of dance in Jersey’s culture almost exceeds the music aspect, at times. The producers and dancers work in dual harmony, as if there are no dancers, there wouldn’t be a reason to make any club music! But, I feel like this was when Jersey Club started to become more recognizable to someone who isn’t on the East coast or related areas, like myself. The Jersey club sound itself, while still there, strayed away more and more from the strictly Baltimore sound, as it morphed into something a bit more unique. A bit of the influence now was from Philly, who geographically is right between Newark and Bmore. In the late 00s and early 10s, they also had a club scene influenced by both regions, altering it to music to “tang” to, consisting of faster tempos, ear-piercing sirens, and booming bass. (Special shout-out to Philly’s DJ Shawny and the Dollarboyz) But all in all, Jersey was still staying “Jersey.”
Club Queen UNIIQU3 has taken Jersey Club and made it worldwide, touring outside the states, currently one of the most revered figures in Jersey Club scene
During the beginning of the “viral internet age,” the tempo started to get a little bit faster, compared to the original Brick Bandit days. While some still kept the original speed, a lot more producers were flirting with tempos up to 150 bpm, compared to the original 130 that was around for so long. This gave Jersey club that high-energy that people know today. The presence of viral video apps Vine and Musical.ly was a huge turning point in Jersey club, because due to its tendency of being popular on there, you could now be stuck in the corn fields of Iowa and can now be aware of DJs like DJ Telly Tellz, club queen UNIIQU3, and DJ SMALLZ. The virality of a lot of these songs, associated dances, and artists was so important to the development of Jersey Club today, as today, the internet plays an even larger part in its success, compared to even just the early 2010s. Later on, as the internet became more and more constant in people’s lives, Jersey club got more and more popular.
Later in the 2010s and now coming into the 2020s, Jersey club got more and more closer into the mainstream, as artists like Cookiee Kawaii and the astronomical hit “Vibe,” a track that is eternally etched in my brain, reached an audience way beyond just Newark. Just listen to it and try to be even a bit sedentary during the song. It’s impossible. Artists like Cookiee and UNIIQU3 have pushed Jersey club into a much more “poppish” direction, but in a way that still keeps the essence of the sounds in Newark. Kawaii released a project Vanice this year that is the perfect blend of pop and Jersey club, pushing the genre forward, but at the same time paying homage to the New Jersey sound that brought them there in the first place. Throughout the past few years, Jersey figures like Cookiee have earned the mainstream praise that has been deserved for years, where Kawaii is now a creative director at New Balance. Also the global queen UNIIQU3 has their own show on SiriusXM, showcasing the best club tracks in the country. Jersey club has come such a long way in just 20 years, but where does that take us now?
Enter the new generation of Jersey club: These past 3-4 years, there has been so many upcoming and emerging producers contributing to Jersey club and its culture. Many of them have started out young and just gotten better as time passed. So what is so different about this generation, you say? I think the most notable difference in modern Jersey Club today is the tempo. I mentioned earlier that later on, tracks got faster, but nowadays, a good majority of Jersey tunes have gone up to a standard of at least 170 bpm, sometimes 180, that gives it such a new fresh energetic breath of air. It has just been a product of time: Pushing music to new horizons, and that is exactly what Jersey has done as of late. Almost all standard initial features, like Bmore breaks and traditional percussion, have been thrown out the window and have been replaced with broader sounds and indicators, like erratic gun clicks, thumping (even distorted at times) bass to break your speakers, and as expected, some of the most random samples and sound effects coming from video games like Mortal Kombat and viral internet videos of the time. Sampling will always be a part of Jersey music, and this new generation has turned it to fucking 11. The mixture of all the the new aspects plus the essence of the New Jersey sound, which consists of ingenuity and originality, has made Jersey club currently one of the most must-not-miss music scenes on the WHOLE PLANET. A great example of the evolution of Jersey club is to go through a few tracks that sample the legendary UK tune “Heartbroken” by T2:
Brick Bandit DJ Jayhood’s rendition is one of the genre's most recognizable tunes. Here, you can sense Baltimore’s influences, with the percussion, but you can see Jersey in it through and through. The tempo isn’t too crazy, but it still makes you want to lose your mind on the dance floor. Fast forward almost 15 years later to someone like Mcvertt:
Compared to Jayhood, it almost feels barebones throughout, but it is the tempo, genius vocal sampling, and bass that gives the classic the modern lift it deserves. While, yes, earlier club producers had similar sounds and were absolute geniuses of their time, it’s like the Jersey club of today has almost no rules; as long as you have that triplet kick pattern and good sample, then it’s Jersey club, which is great because you can now bring the New Jersey sound to whole new, uncharted areas.
The appeal and feeling of Jersey club and its culture is almost indescribable at times. The community aspect of it all is so endearing, as club music is a vital part of the culture of many Jerseyites and is what brings many of them together. There’s so much to it, but in this recent interview, I think UNIIQU3 describes it perfectly:
“I think Jersey club’s appeal is a lot more than just the music … Yeah, the music is something fun that captures people. It’s like the first sensation, like, ‘Oooh, I like that color,’ or ‘Oooh, that smells good.’ It’s what draws you in. But when you see the dancing and the energy, it’s like, ‘Damn, those people are having so much fun. They look so cool. I wanna feel that!’ That’s what gets people hooked. People want to get involved in the culture.”
The energy in Jersey club music and dancing is one of the main aspects that keep me coming back. I think the only types of music in America that even come close to that energy is New Orleans Bounce and Chicago Footwork, both insane and genius parts of both cities’ cultures. Jersey club battles are just ridiculous. You got a huge crowd of people in a public place circling the usually asphalt dance floor, where usually there’s 1v1 battles, but can sometimes go up to 3v3, where dancers just go out of their mind. There’s just so much going. There’s different dancer/producer crews like Bandits, Majin, Lab Brothers, Lab Sisters. (There’s so much more than I’m missing. I can’t even remember them all because there’s so much!) You usually hear tunes that will probably never be released, as it is like that in most regional scenes, and pray that someday they will upload it somewhere. Everyone in the crowd just feeds off the energy from the dancers, screaming and hollering “TURN ME THE FUCK UP”, and it becomes this huge celebration of Jersey culture. Youtube channels like LinkUp Tuesdays and Cannon Vision do the world a favor by uploading most of these battles onto the web, as even through these videos you feel the energy and, and it gives you this yearning of wishing you were in a place that you never step foot in before.(Leek, Ryu, and Gbandz reach some type of otherworldly transcendence here)
Lastly, what you are here for: THE PRODUCERS. Like I said earlier, Jersey has reached another stratosphere in the club world, and it is all thanks to these young virtuosos gracing the scene today. Today, I’ll be going through a GOOD BIT of them, as I did not want to leave anyone out, so I hope you have your popcorn, soda, and the joints around your bones ready, because from here on out, we are going to go hyperdrive on this shit, so let’s begin going through THE NEW GENERATION OF JERSEY CLUB.
Now this kid….. A god damn FORCE is all I can describe what SteezTheProducer is. Me even discussing his music here cannot do it justice with how incredible he truly is. Just go on his Soundcloud and listen to every single upload. He’s that good. There’s a few producers than can be argued to be it, but honestly Steez might be the best of them all in Jersey right now. Every single damn tune he puts out makes you yell up at your ceiling like Jesse from Breaking Bad going “HE CAN’T KEEP GETTING AWAY WITH IT.” He’s had some really great hits that have blown up on the internet the last few years like the tune that should be put in the dictionary under the word BOUNCE, “Get Jiggy” and his remix of Roddy Ricch’s Boom Boom Room that gave birth to one of the single greatest dance clips of ALL TIME; like I entirely lose my shit whenever the kid hits the double time; it’s so damn good. One of the best samplers in Jersey, some of them that Steez uses are straight up fucking ridiculous. For example, he made that time on SpongeBob when Bubble Baths was living in his head rent free, because he forgot the pickles on the damn burger once, into a song that makes you want to throw all the ass you got. Another absolutely egregious song was when Steez thought it was a good idea to sample the Rick and Morty Pringles commercial and turn into something that you want to break your car speakers with.
His ear for samples and just how he formats his music, loading it up with so many erratic breaks and vocal chops, automatically makes you wanna move. Steez arguably has some of the best kicks in Jersey, with every single one feels like the coolest kick to the chest ever. Sometimes he’s just switching them up every second, sometimes he just throwing them in the EQ and putting the bass on +35db. Steez’s punchiness in his sound just makes you want to buy the biggest speakers and subwoofer on earth and just keep everyone on the street up forever until you can’t afford the light bill no more.
But these hits and descriptions still really don’t do Steez justice, in my opinion. A good majority of his work lately feels almost suffocating at times: These weird, hazy, dissonantly thick synth lines that usually linger throughout these songs, coupled with earth-rattling bass makes it feel like Newark and Jersey altogether are actually in space and not on the East Coast. I don’t think there’s a song that describes that madness better than “Scars”, where Steez takes this mid 2010s pop song by Alessia Cara that you would hear at a grocery store in the produce aisle and puts it in the damn incinerator. The creepily headspinning synths at the beginning make you feel disoriented for a second, and then you start hearing the sample and go “What the hell?” and at that point there’s no return when them kicks come on in. Just pure madness. And it just keeps going and going and going. It’s honestly one of the most wild songs I have ever heard period, like not even just Jersey Club.
Steez’s uniqueness and just pure genius are main catalysts to what is making Jersey Club music so innovative and leftfield right now. His latest full release, Don’t Sleep just proves that Steez is not going to stop being himself, as he puts out some absolutely INSANE tracks on here. On the first track “Rick James”, a collab with other Jersey madmen 2napps and Haze, Steez and them take the iconic Charlie Murphy Rick James story and chop the absolute hell out of it, with it having some of the most insane vocal chops I have ever heard. While many can say that the standout here is “Dirty Dan,” another Spongebob sampled track that I can hear in my damn sleep at this point, I think the must-listen of this release is his collab with @2napps, “Ahhh,” where they make Jersey Club sound like it is made by aliens from another planet. The synths sound like you are being beamed up to a alien spaceship and instead you just see two dudes in there just cooking it up on Fruity Loops or Acid Pro, and then suddenly you are totally fine with the catastrophic event that has just happened to you. Don’t Sleep and his discography altogether encapsulate how different Jersey Club music can be nowadays, and Steez is the chosen one to take it to the far beyond.
If Steez is one taking Jersey to the far beyond, then Jersey household name SirLaden, aka Haze is the one to take Jersey to the far far far far far beyond. Over the past 5-6 years, Haze has made numerous banging out-of-this-world tracks, like this remix of “Dancin”, that is very reminiscent of the mid 2010s Jersey club sound or this weird cut that just samples the birds from Angry Birds. Another notable older tune is this Trey Songz remix with an almost nightcore/Florida fast music type tempo that is just BUMPING the entire time. Haze has always been a wild producer, but over the last year or so, this guy has gotten WEIRD. I feel like the turning point of his stuff on Soundcloud was when he dropped “RTB” an absolutely strange remix of Aaliyah’s “Rock the Boat." From that point on, any Jersey track with either “Haze” or “SirLaden” just invites nothing but chaos. Like listen to this collab track between Haze and Vivid, “Rock N Roll”. Like what type of person can even think of something like this! The synth that just sounds like you’re getting your teeth drilled with so many samples going on so quickly, you can barely wrap your mind around what the hell is going on.
This doesn’t even touch the surface of SirLaden’s madness. Look at something like “Let’s Fight”, a collab with Steez and 2napps, where the three turn into some straight up demons. This sounds like club music made for when you live in a video game world and you’re constantly on low health; this tune just envelops you like a cloud of the thickest smoke with insane vocal breaks and that damn laughing. It really does feel like the kick in the face that is on the album cover. The ride just never stops with Haze’s music. He can go from sampling a scene from Rush Hour 3 (of all the movies!!!) and turning it into something that should be played in clubs every night to taking numerous CJ from San Andreas voice clips, throwing down some type of plasma rifle as a synth, and making this entirely alien song that feels weird as hell to move to because you trying to figure out what the hell CJ is saying, but a must to blast in your speakers. All of it sounds so fucking weird, but absolutely inventive. I still have this desire and hope for him to get even weirder, and that really seems to be the case in the near future. A full release/EP from SirLaden would be a massive contribution to Jersey as he’s one of the few who are taking the torch and moving the medium forward into uncharted territory.
If there was anyone currently in Jersey that is destined to be a star, Newark native Mcvertt (as quoted on his Instagram bio “its m-c-vertt not micvertt”) is THE GUY. A fan favorite dancer and producer, Mcvertt is a master of his craft at both. When it comes to his dancing, my god, does this kid know how to work a crowd. It’s almost a guarantee that when Vertt is in a dance battle, he is going to do nothing but shit to rile up everyone there, whether it’s taking someone’s phone who’s recording the battle on IG Live or cutting a flip after jumping off the bleachers in the smoothest way possible. Like no matter how good his opponent is, no one can beat the showmanship of Mcvertt. Also I think going out to battles and dancing to your own tunes is one of the biggest flexes anyone can do; he’s just so confident in what he does, and that is what has made Mcvertt grown into such an incredible artist today.
When it comes to his music, all Mcvertt does is make hits. He has this unique style that is almost minimalistic compared to others in the scene. Vertt has this distinct staccato-like approach when using samples, and with the usual fast speed of his songs, it’s practically impossible to not move to that shit. In early songs like the huge hits “Check The Bounce” and “Gun Your Bounce”, Mcvertt just knows from the get go how to make generation defining Jersey Club music. Especially in “Gun Your Bounce”, it still has this early Jersey house, Club Zanzibar-type sound, but still has the modern sensibilities that makes them go viral so often. Like the kid managed to make a song with just frog and bird noises, and that just proves that he can’t make a bad song. But looking at something like late 2019’s Bounceworld and comparing it to his latest release from this year 18, you can really sense how much Mcvertt has grown as a producer in that timespan. 18 has so many great moments, like Mc absolutely obliterating both Shai and Michael Jackson songs in “IF I FALL IN LOVE” and “LEAVE ME ALONE.” He sets the tone quickly with those two songs, as he’s making sure you are not sitting on your ass listening to this. But I don’t think there is anything that could prepare you for the standout track “BEGGIN” that features other Jersey giant rrodney, where it takes that one annoying song that is made by a band that doesn’t even exist and turns it into one of the best songs of the year. A thumping, heart-racing club song that is just as jaw dropping, as it is baffling.
But I believe Mcvertt’s biggest claim to fame so far is his contribution to the rise of Newark rapper Bandmanrill, who has put out some of the best tracks of the year out of anyone in the country. Starting with probably the song of the summer “HEARTBROKEN”, Bandmanrill makes himself a star rapping over the Mcvertt song of the same name. Bandmanrill’s constantly-going drill-like delivery coupled with Mcvertt’s madman frantic pace in his production is something that is just meant to be paired together. The song is one of those moments of brilliance where you listen to something and it makes you see the promised land. Just look at the music videos, and try to lie to me that this has no energy. That’s all what it is: 100% crazy energy that goes on and on till you approach silence and you’re now sad because the party’s over.
Bandmanrill of course did not stop the use of Mcvertt beats as he went on to recently release two more mammoths of tracks “MR.DONTCUFFTHTAT”, an absolutely ridiculous flip of an Imagine Dragons song that is so damn good, and “BULLET”, which is the best use of the Carti Kid Cudi sample I have ever heard. Of course, Mcvertt has both instrumentals and they are just as good. Them damn gun clicks man… I think Bandmanrill using these club beats will only cause others to join in on the craze soon, and people need to use more Mcvertt beats because they are perfect for this type of rap. I only think it is the beginning for this kid, despite how much success he already has, and I think 2022 will be a huge year for Mcvertt without a doubt.
Whenever you hear a Jersey club tune and then all of a sudden you hear “Shut up I’m on the phone with rrodney…. ” you better prepare yourself to completely lose your shit. rrodney is one of the most consistently great producers in Jersey right now and is totally a go-through-their-whole-soundcloud type artist, as he simply does not miss. Easily, his most well-known track is “do you remember” the breathtaking remix of 70s funk group 21st Century’s Remember the Rain, where rrodney revives an almost half century old tune with booming kicks and just a groove that is absolutely hypnotizing and addicting. Like you know a song is popular when there’s 800 slowed and reverbed remixes on Youtube! The tune itself has garnered an incredible amount of popularity through Tiktok, as everyone and their mom danced to that. Crazy what that website can do to club songs.
Miss The Rage is a song that has created an absolute monster in terms of sounds and type-beats this year, but I think rrodney’s remix of the tune is one of Jersey’s best songs, as the famous synth line being reversed and the sudden grabbing emergence of Missy Elliot going “ra tah tah” over and over again is such an incredible experience that I wish I could live through for the first time again. Even babysantana gave it some love! Every song of rrodney’s sounds like it would be viral on Tiktok. He has such a unique feel in his music that is absolutely addicting; I think there’s a certain deep low end sonically in his songs that gives them their bounce. It’s almost like you’re at a party in the basement while the music is booming upstairs and all you can hear is them low frequencies that still make you want to dance.
I really like the sample choices that rrodney uses in his songs. They’re pretty varied, but mostly modern going from sampling Yeat and South Park in the same song to chopping up Khia vocals while obliterating a Tyler beat. Every new rrodney song has this sleek feel to them like you’re opening up the 85,000 dollar iPhone 20 for the first time. It’s club music that always reflects its culture at the time. Speaking of time, as for 2022, I think rrodney has a large amount of potential to broaden their horizons. He’s totally the type of artist that can go a Mcvertt type route in terms of providing beats for rappers, but at the same time, I think rrodney still has so much potential to become more as a club producer.
Another absolutely talented producer out of Jersey is LEAKTHEDJ. A veteran of the scene, Leak’s sample use is absolutely bonkers. From sampling David Banner from Def Jam FFNY and using Elmo’s laugh as an instrument to basing an entire song on that time in South Park where Kyle kicked his baby brother, Leak knows how to trigger a “What the fuck” out of anyone. At times, he has a sound that is reminiscent of the early 2010s vine type era of Jersey, mostly driven by slightly slower tempos than his colleagues, but at the same time Leak’s inventive ear for samples and love for Jersey club are what make him so hard to miss.
I think LEAKTHEDJ’s best release has been this year's EXISTENCE, an album full of great ideas from the producer. There are some really good standout tracks here, like “RICH & LEAK”, a vintage style Jersey club tune propelled by a vocal sample of Layzie Bone from Thuggish Ruggish Bone, setting in this irresistible bounce that you can’t turn off. At times, Leak becomes absurd like on the closing track “THE CHOOSEN 1NE”, taking advantage of a fucking Evanescence sample that has absolutely no right to be that good. When it comes to Jersey Club, there’s always this uncertainty of what you are about to experience, because lately, producers have been so random with their sample choices, and LEAKTHEDJ is one of those culprits; that makes him such a compelling artist.
But, I do believe the one must listen track of LEAKTHEDJ that is also off of EXISTENCE is “B.O.D” , one of the most batshit genius songs I have heard in a while, and it has started this monster in Jersey: THE MYTHICAL JR SAMPLE. I’m pretty sure Leak was the one to start it, and I want to say it is from one of the 2000s WWE video games, but the use of wrestling commentating legend Jim Ross, as a reoccurring sample in many recent Jersey songs has been one of my favorite music developments from anywhere this year. I will be doing dishes, at work, anywhere, and there will be some point in my day where I will not stop saying “JR JR JR BOOKEM JR JR JR BOOKEM.” (Even though I think he’s saying “look at” and not “book em” lol.) It’s a worm that can’t get out of my brain! Taking that and putting it over Kane and Undertaker’s themes is just something that just sounds ridiculous, and then you hear it, and you immediately book a ticket to New Jersey because you are severely concerned with what the hell is going on there. But all in all, LEAKTHEDJ is another agent of chaos in this Jersey club world, as he is another important piece of this new generation.
Another noteworthy producer from Newark is Vivid The Producer, who I think makes some of the nicest sounding tunes in all of Jersey. It sounds like they just put out an album on like Planet Mu or some semi large label of that caliber, because their production as of late has been incredible. Compared to the others that I have discussed here, I think she is the most mellow, as Vivid is not constantly in your face, but rather is like a cool breeze creeping beside you. A great example is Let Go, a track with almost ethereal type synths feeling like the background photo of a “10 hours of chillwave music” video on YouTube. In its essence, it is still damn good Jersey club music, whether it’s going breakneck speed or not. Vivid’s music is just cool. Like kind of a Miles-Davis-“shit-they’re-smooth”-type cool.
This year, while not releasing as much music as previous years, Vivid was able to bless us with 444 back in late July, an album full of different energies, varying from something lowkey you would want on repeat driving through the highway in the middle of the night like “GONE (Lab Family Anthem)” to something high-energy that is constantly making you sweat just from listening to it like “Dashie Freestyle.” Vivid’s ability to transition between both feelings throughout the 25 minutes is something that makes it such an enjoyable listen. Out of everything on 444, I think the standout track of them all is finale Punk, a track with another appearance from the ever-astonishing enigma that is Haze/SirLaden, where they take this childishly playful sample and put it through the blender with this weird Ja-Rule-foghorn type vocal sample that I think is DMX? I’m not sure, but it’s awesome. Haze starts off being his usual self, throwing in Miley Cyrus, Biggie, and what I think is Homer Simpson about to choke his son(???) all together in about less than a minute, like an angry bull running through a room full of expensive red pottery. Then Vivid comes in for her part and shines, manipulating and bending the sounds set by Haze in the beginning and just goes! Vivid can hang with the best in Jersey, and my only hope is that we get more music from her soon, as she fails to disappoint.
In terms of style, a highly versatile producer in his own right, but I think the thing that separates this South Jersey producer from the rest is his stellar use of R&B samples. Like my GOD. Retro J shows that off on viral hit songs like Silk an absolutely wild tune with a slight old school Jersey sound that samples the R&B group of the same name, or when he DESTROYED the Aaliyah classic “Miss You” (In not one, but TWO songs). Another song of his “Brighter Days“ should be illegal because that Kirk Franklin sample should not be allowed good lord. Retro is another dancer first producer second type, and a damn good dancer at that. This only makes him a better producer in my opinion, because he first-hand knows what exact type of energy is needed in the music to make you move. Some other tunes that define the producer include E.V.E a booming obvious Eve flip that makes that chorus of Gotta Man stuck in your head all day and this forceful remix of A Milli that is just absurd. More recently, his last two recent releases, COLOR ME BADD and MCLOVIN are both awesome collections of Jersey Club from the producer.
I think that out of anyone that I talk about here, theminecraftwolf is one of the most unique artists making Jersey club, in terms of location and personality. Wolf is a teenager from Georgia, but honestly you could not even tell if you didn’t see their location on Soundcloud, because this kid makes some damn stellar Jersey club and has worked with lots of Jersey producers like rrodney, Haze, and others, and they never miss a beat for being so far away. Being a 16 year old in 2021 is almost a gimme with being enveloped in the crazy world of the internet and Wolf is a no exception. Going through their profile on Soundcloud, you see songs with themes about Minecraft, Among Us, and some weird Peppa Pig horror game type shit. Okay, the Peppa Pig stuff I am pretty behind on, but regardless of whatever themes they put into their music, theminecraftwolf is an incredibly talented producer, who is only getting better as time goes on.
A large standout track of Wolf’s repertoire is this Friday Night Funkin’ remix collab with rrodney and vondtb, a never-ending energetic club tune with the smoothest piano sample that makes those weird ass vocals from the smash hit, DDR-inspired flash game, eternally stuck in your head. Also, seeing a Pico Jersey club remix in 2021 is something that I could have never imagined if it wasn’t for that game, and my god this is ridiculous, with the last part, produced by “Club Core” founder It’s Dynamite, riddled with drum and bass breaks, futuristic reverberated synths, and one of the nastiest 808 kicks I have ever heard.
Some people can say things about their teenage interests and subject material, but I think that Wolfie is one of the best examples of how welcoming and diverse the Jersey Club community is, especially all of the folk in Jersey. Labbing through the internet and putting out tunes with someone across the country is something that was practically unheard of just 20 years ago, and today it is so commonplace in so many music scenes. I think it is something that keeps the genre constantly growing, especially with Jersey, which has such an influence on other areas, like Miami and Philly. More than anything, theminecraftwolf just shows the incredible beneficial influence the internet has on broadening the use of regional genres, and they do it with lots of justice. Being so young, I really do think they have loads of room to grow, and if they want to keep producing club songs, I think they will just keep getting better and better, and that’s why you should be on the lookout for this kid.
I mentioned earlier about how Jersey Club has been migrated to other parts of the US over the years, and that one of the big regions that has done so for a while is South Florida, moreso the 954 and 305 area codes. When you look at the club scene today, I think the most prevalent non-Jersey area right now that pumping out insane producers is Miami, with folks like Lil Snatched, Mg_Burto, and this underrated producer with an unlimited amount of potential. No, Doughboy didn’t move to Miami to make Jersey Club, but 305 producer ca1eb is someone who, despite having such a limited amount of tunes currently, has slowly made a splash on the scene as someone who have to constantly keep your eye on because he is getting better and better with each track he puts out. I think ca1eb’s style could be described as “my god I really hope this guy is okay.” Like my goodness, the amount of absurdity in his music is exactly what I strive to seek in music nowadays. You can say that he’s a bit influenced as well by Steez and Haze, in terms of having abnormal ethereal synths and questionable sample choices, but I think ca1eb is at times, just as, if not, more clever with his song choices. Like in “BILLY & MANDY CYPHER”, ca1eb takes the eternally goofy Billy from the classic cartoon and manipulates him into a club MC, where you have him yelling “YOU AIN’T BAD YOU AIN’T NOTHIN” over a combo of these weird higher octave saw synths chords and a low pitched horn section that is just high energy non-stop. A favorite of mine is “JOE’S BULLET CYPHER”, a song that takes a super random Family Guy cutaway of a bullet calling their mom and throws in like a 2 second sample of Kanye at the beginning of Can’t Tell Me Nothing to make up an absurd 93 seconds of insanity. If that doesn’t intrigue you to see what the hell is going on, then I don’t know what I’m here for.
And my god, the Ca1eb x Haze collab is exactly what you think it’s going to be, and that’s god damn weird! Ca1eb starts off and sets the pace, just constantly in your face with the “Yea” sample continuously running around you, and then Haze comes in…… I’ve listened to this shit so many times, and I still can’t comprehend what Haze is doing here, and I don’t know if I ever will, and that’s what I love about all of this shit. I never will know what to expect, and I will always be blindsided by something ridiculous. But looking at ca1eb overall, I think we haven’t even seen the beginning of this dude. In a scene where producers are abundant with tracks, I think as he releases more, ca1eb will start getting that praise that he deserves, and one can hope that 2022 will be a huge year for the producer.
Another young producer that is incredibly underrated is Jersey’s GAVINTHEPRODUCER. Like this kid is ridiculous. A relatively newer producer, as they have only been making club tracks for over a year now, you can honestly see the type of influence producers like Steez and Haze have on younger producers. The dissonance, weird sampling, and ingenuity from the Jersey torchbearers can all be seen in Gavin’s music.
Look at this Rihanna flip on “Needed Me”: Like that synth in the background should not work because it sounds so off compared to the Rih acapella, but once the bass and gun clicks start coming in, everything just makes sense. There’s always a pattern in a good bit of Jersey songs today that usually starts with the synth line, and it’s the anticipation of what is going to come when all hell breaks loose that makes Jersey Club music so infinitely fun and addicting, and Gavin is so damn good at this. Like for example, on “The Strangler”, another Spongebob sampled tune, that starts off with just a Spongebob clip and these super weird electronic horn chords with this ominous low end, and then once the song gets into gear, you cannot leave the ride. I want to say this was influenced originally by producers like Steez and Haze, but Gavin’s tendency to stray away from the standard Jersey club kick pattern and just go for these crazy lines like if you took a bass drum, flipped it to its side like a snare, and started doing high school drum line licks is so awesome. It gives it such a primal energy that is indescribable if you don’t listen to it.
Another strange tune of Gavin’s is this remix of the cartoon “Loud House”. I have never even seen the show, but my goodness is this an insane tune. The vocal samples from the show coupled with chords that sound like your cat jumping on the keyboard and booming drums is such a weird experience that I cannot stop listening to. Just the things some of these kids come up with are insane.
A great indicator of Gavin’s growth as a producer is his full release from back in August, Back To The Basics. It is just constantly-in-your-face club music that has so many great parts throughout. First, Gavin’s remix of Sosa’s “The Talk”feels like you are getting constantly kicked in the head in a dark ass club with Chief Keef constantly going “g-g-g-good enough” like he’s doing a hologram robot performance and the shit is malfunctioning. The opener collab track “Get It On Pt2” has DMX dictating a club floor while your subwoofer is breaking. The subtle sample of Everybody Dance Now around the 0:38 second mark seriously still psyches me out. It’s crazy how much stuff these producers fit into these 1-2 minute tracks. But, I believe the standout here is possibly the craziest use of “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus. The intro sounds so strange with these low, drone-like synths are slowly just passing by as Miley sings her heart out on the chorus, and then shit hits the fan once the kicks and “Push It” start coming in. You start holding onto the arms of your chair like you’re being blasted into hyperspace; it’s almost anxiety inducing, but it’s too damn good to be hyperventilating, so you’re just instead sharp bouncing scared for your life. Stuff like that is why I am constantly engross myself with Jersey Club anytime I can. But in such a short time, Gavin has become a wild and talented producer, and my hope for 2022 is that they keep being themself and keep making crazy tracks, as I do not think we are even close to seeing the final form of GAVINTHEPRODUCER.
I think out of everyone in Jersey, I always feel the most overwhelmed with JayTheMixer’s music, as they have put out so many tracks this year to the point where I can barely keep up anymore. Jay is up there in my eyes as one of the best samplers in the game. I know I have been saying that about everyone here, but sampling is such a huge part of Jersey club, and it takes an astronomical amount of creativity to be considered one of the best. Like who in their right mind decides to sample goddamn SONIC R??????????????? and then have the audacity to use the ring noise as a percussion instrument, as well as other Sonic sound effects. It’s just an absolutely maddening song that I keep coming back to. Another one is sampling Motown legends The Spinners in “It’s A Shame” and morphing it into a 180+ BPM monstrosity that constantly feels like it is coming off the rails. An absolutely crazy track.
But I think the must-see attraction of the JayTheMixer experience is his two-part FIFTY-TWO TRACK album WILD SUMMER 2 from earlier this year that feels like a lot to handle on paper, but Jay’s ability to sample the most random things, like Limp Bizkit TWICE in the songs “Critical Way” and “Build A Bridge”, both absolutely shocking tracks, is what makes this such a fun listen. Other highlights of the double album include “Tag Team”, a song that makes me feel like when Spongebob had them boots on and started violently moving up and down (Jersey club makes me think of Spongebob a lot it seems), “Sandstorm Cypher”, a track that you already know what it’s going to sample and you’re already checking it out, and “So Into You 2”, a track sampling late 90s-early 00s R&B artist Tamia that completely strays away from everything in the original song to make something that is just so damn fun. Fun is a great word to describe JayTheMixer’s music. Something you are able to put on and everyone will collectively lose their minds, as the music is so energetic, as it is fun. In the near future, I believe Jay is releasing another album soon in late October (edit: it literally just came out when I was done with all of this lol), probably with an absurd amount of tracks (edit again: surprisingly not, but this one is ridiculous as usual) again, and I am pretty sure that it will be a continuation of his madness in the Jersey scene.
Now I can sit here for hours on end telling you how good everyone in this scene is, but we all have our own personal obligations in life, so I am just going to mention a few more notable producers that I think more people should check out. This doesn’t even scratch the surface of how large the scene in Jersey is, so I challenge y’all to explore further, as you will find even more great artists, making Jersey Club one of the most interesting music scenes in the world.
(one of the most insane things I have ever heard right here my god)
Fasa973_ (This one, seriously, what the fuck)
Now if this is still not enough Jersey club music, I have more playlists on my soundcloud account, but you would have to sign a waiver before doing so, so that I’m not responsible for you passing out from moving around too much or you breaking your eardrums. That is NOT on me. But seriously, this shows how far Newark has come from the original New Jersey Sound of yesteryear. The soul and genuineness has always stayed, but as the new generation has come along, the limits of what this area can do have been stretched beyond belief. What we can hope is that as we progress more and more throughout time, New Jersey continues to be light-years ahead of us all, and that future still looks to be highly likely. All we can do now wait and witness it happen.
Till next time…