Category Archives: Pop

THE FOSTER & MCELROY COLLECTION

UGGH-FOSTER-MCELROY-COLLECTION
Thanks to their work with Timex Social Club and Club Nouveau in 1986, Oakland natives Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy became known as one of the most innovative producer/songwriting teams in the R&B business. Along with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, they were responsible for laying the early groundwork for what would become New Jack Swing by mixing hip-hop, electro, go-go, and pop rhythms into the more traditional R&B recipe.

Their early success with singles like “Rumors” and “Situation #9” gave them the power to sign and make hits with a slew of Bay Area acts, including Tony! Toni! Toné! (Foster & McElroy produced their entire debut album in 1988), Samuelle (they wrote his #1 R&B hit “So You Like What You See”), and, most famously, multi-platinum phenomenon En Vogue.

As usual, Foster & McElroy won with En Vogue by injecting unexpected influences into their music, mixing the image and harmonies of ’60s girl groups like The Supremes with modern hip-hop. Their 1990 platinum debut Born To Sing produced the #2 pop hit “Hold On,” which made brilliant use of James Brown’s “The Payback,” one of hip-hop’s go-to breakbeats at the time. En Vogue’s triple-platinum sophomore album, Funky Divas, made them certified crossover stars, producing three top ten pop singles and garnering five Grammy nominations (not to mention the honor of performing the Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper theme song, which was also produced by Foster & McElroy). Spend some time appreciating the catalog of these R&B icons with Uggh…Nice Watch’s compilation of 30 Foster & McElroy gems…

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRACKLIST + LINKS…

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THE NILE RODGERS COLLECTION


Disco is often considered a musical anomaly, a cheesy gimmick that existed on an isolated aesthetic island before dying out in the late ’70s. And while the disco’s direct lineage to house and other later dance music movements is well documented, little attention is paid to the way disco morphed and made its presence felt in New Wave and the pop rock of the ’80s. A fascinating musical figure at the center of this era is Nile Rodgers, the last great disco producer.

Best known as the co-founder of Chic, Rodgers, alongside his partner Bernard Edwards, made some of the most brilliant music of the late disco era. Nile played guitar, and Bernard played bass. Together, they injected new levels of musicality into a genre that was fast becoming cliché, creating in Chic a disco band that thought like a jazz fusion band. They had seven straight chart-topping singles, produced albums for Diana Ross, Sister Sledge and Johnny Mathis, and provided the musical backbone for hip-hop’s first hit record, “Rapper’s Delight.”

After Disco Demolition Night famously kicked off a nationwide backlash, times were tough for disco’s posterboys. A few years later, David Bowie recruited Nile Rogers to produce his “pop” album Let’s Dance, in a clear attempt to capture the NYC cool of Chic’s hits “Good Times” and “Le Freak.” Suddenly, Nile was once again an in-demand producer for white New Wave acts looking to inject some funky dance flavor into their sound. He produced huge hits for INXS and Duran Duran, and the album that made Madonna a true pop icon, Like A Virgin.

Nile continued to explore new musical frontiers, moving into scoring films and video games (his first gig was creating the music for Eddie Murphy’s Coming To America, including the infamous “Soul Glo” commercial). In the ’90s, his records got a new life after the Trackmasters and the Hitmen raided his catalogue for samples, providing the soundtrack for the jiggy rap era’s biggest hits, including “Mo Money Mo Problems,” “Gettin’ Jiggy With It,” “Been Around The World,” and “Cold Rock a Party.” Check out my compilation of 30 songs created by this diverse musical genius…

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRACKLIST + DOWNLOAD LINK…

THE TRACKMASTERS COLLECTION


Aside from Puffy, Poke & Tone were the most villified producers of the ’90s, synonymous with rap’s jiggy era after co-producing “Gettin’ Jiggy With It.” But their discography reveals more hip-hop and R&B classics than crossover cheese, beginning with singles from Chubb Rock, Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane in the early ’90s. Tone (a.k.a. Red Hot Lover Tone) released two solo albums, while Poke linked up with Puff Daddy to co-produce a ton of early Bad Boy/Uptown classics, from Mary J.’s “Be Happy” to Biggie’s “Juicy.” But the Trackmasters name really became infamous to most rap fans in 1995 and ’96 when they produced the majority of both LL Cool J’s Mr. Smith and Nas’ It Was Written.

Golden boys in the golden era of New York rap’s glossy makeover, their reputation as hitmakers was unparalleled by the end of the decade. They started to move away from samples in the early ’00s, and things were never quite the same. Their attempt to bring Jay-Z and R. Kelly together on The Best of Both Worlds turned out to be a debacle, and in 2003 they were perhaps unfairly branded “the guys who missed out on 50 Cent.” Remember the good times with my mixtape of 30 Poke & Tone classics…

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRACKLIST + DOWNLOAD LINK…

THE DENNIZ POP COLLECTION


If Maurice Starr is the king of ’80s boybands (New Edition, New Kids on the Block), then Swedish producer/songwriter Dag “Denniz Pop” Volle deserves his share of credit for the pop music mania the late ’90s, churning our the earliest hits for Backstreet Boys and N*SYNC in his Stockholm headquarters Cheiron Studios. Dagge started as a part of the Swedish DJ crew and studio Swemix in the late-’80s before hitting the Europop scene hard in 1990 with Swedish reggae singer Dr. Alban (“Hello Afrika”), and founding Cheiron in 1992. He solidified his reputation as an international hitmaker with Ace of Base, producing the #1 song of 1994, “The Sign,” along with two top 10 hits for Robyn.

Jive set him up with then-unknown boybands Backstreet Boys and N’Sync, and Pop (along with his protege Max Martin) knocked it out the park with signature singles like “I Want You Back” and “Everybody.” The studio was experiencing unparalleled success just as Denniz Pop battled stomach cancer, passing away in in August 1998 at the age of 35. Cherion eventually closed in 2001, but Denniz Pop’s influence on modern pop music can still be felt 12 years after his death. His partner Max Martin went on to craft breakthrough singles for Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson, and Katy Perry. Even Lady Gaga’s producer RedOne can trace his roots back to Pop, starting as a Cheiron assistant in the early ’00s. Check out The Denniz Pop Collection for 30 of my favorite Dagge-produced gems…

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRACKLIST + DOWNLOAD LINK…

THE LEON SYLVERS COLLECTION

The eldest brother in the Jackson-style family band The Sylvers, Leon F. Sylvers III was 19 when he wrote the group’s first top 10 R&B single “Wish That I Could Talk To You” in 1972. By the late ’70s, Leon had really hit his stride as a songwriter and producer after Dick Griffey hired him at S.O.L.A.R. Records—The Sound Of Los Angeles. His brand of classy, soul-drenched disco-funk became known in the industry as “The S.O.L.A.R. Sound,” made famous by Leon’s string of smashes with Shalamar, along with the label’s all-star roster Lakeside, The Whispers, The Spinners, and Dynasty. Hits with everyone from Evelyn “Champagne” King to Gladys Knight & The Pips continued into the mid ’80s.

Things had slowed down for Leon by the time he released his self-titled solo debut on Motown in 1989. While his name had faded as a marquee producer, he continued to find some quality work throughout ’90s—including co-writing a slew of records with Teddy Riley like Blackstreet’s #2 R&B hit “Before I Let You Go.” He even famously hired an unknown keyboard player named Damon Riddick (a.k.a. Dam-Funk of Stones Throw fame) for his first job in 1992. Still active today in his late 50s, Leon Sylvers is a true R&B genius who rarely gets mentioned with the greats, but his catalog is full of gems. I compiled and tagged 30 of my favorite Leon Sylvers creations for your downloading pleasure…

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRACKLIST + DOWNLOAD LINK…

THE ALTERNATIVE ROCK COLLECTION (1991-1995)


As a music-obsessed 12-year-old in the early ’90s, it was amazing to witness the rise of so-called “alternative rock” first hand. Seemingly overnight, radio stations switched formats to “modern rock,” effectively turning overproduced pop and skeevy hair metal into relics of the ’80s. Of course, Nirvana gets all the credit for this breakthrough, and there’s no doubt that they were worthy posterboys. But the breakthrough was the result of a decade of post-New Wave underground rock music, and this rich history exploded thanks to countless scenes and bands.

Musically, alt-rock (especially the early grunge-centered material) was not all that different from traditional rock music. Electric guitars, drums, bass, gritty vocals. The real change this period brought was the attitude—suddenly a thick sense of irony permeated pop culture, and being different became an asset rather than an automatic strike against your success. To celebrate this influential era (1991-1995*), I compiled 30 of my favorite songs that found success under the alt-rock banner. I omitted most of the obvious crossover smashes (“Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Jeremy,” “Loser,” etc.), and instead tried to focus on the awesome modern rock radio hits that haven’t lasted quite as long in the public consciousness. Download and enjoy…

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRACKLIST + DOWNLOAD LINK…

THE GIORGIO MORODER COLLECTION


It’s hard to imagine a time when synthesizers didn’t dominate popular music, but in the early 1970s, anything beyond acoustic was a pretty avant-garde act. Producer/singer/songwriter Giorgio Moroder was at the forefront of making electro go pop, through his innovative work in disco, pop, and film scores.

Raised in a German-speaking part of Northern Italy, Giorgio made his career in Germany’s music scene in the late ’60s when krautrock artists had started sprinkling synths into their traditional rock formulas. In 1976, he hit it big with Donna Summer’s “Love To Love You Baby,” a funky, orgasmic club anthem that turned the unknown singer into the definitive artist of the disco era. A year later, Summer, Giorgio and longtime partner Pete Bellotte released “I Feel Love,” a hard-hitting electronic disco record that is often credited as the missing link between acoustic disco and modern house music. Other German electro artists like Kraftwerk might have been more musically radical, but Giorgio brought the synthetic revolution to the dance clubs and pop radio before anyone else. He would go on to compose a string of hugely successful soundtracks, from 1978’s Midnight Express to 1983’s Scarface, phasing out classical-style scores in favor of futuristic sounds that would dominate the ’80s. I collected over 25 of my favorite Giorgio songs for the latest Uggh…Nice Watch compilation…

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRACKLIST + DOWNLOAD LINK…