Friday, June 4, 2021

"Just Got Paid" by Johnny Kemp

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  3514
Date:  05/14/1988
Debut:  96
Peak:  10
Weeks:  21
Genre:  New Jack Swing

Pop Bits:  This singer from Nassau, Bahamas, made the move to New York just before the 80s began. A couple of years later, Kemp found himself writing songs and singing backup for the NYC band B.B.&Q. Band. He also wrote songs/sang for other groups including Change. Along the way he would pursue a solo career and he was finally able to get signed to Columbia Records. He would release a self-titled debut album in 1986. It featured the #14 R&B/#26 Dance track "Just Another Lover." Near the end of '87, he would release his second LP Secrets of Flying. This first single was issued out and it became a #1 smash hit at R&B and Dance. It would then cross over to the Pop chart where it just barely cracked the Top 10. The single sold well and it would be certified gold. The hit would send the LP to #4 R&B and #68 Pop. Later on, the tune earned Kemp and Keith Sweat (see below) a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Song. Two other singles would be released from the LP. "One Thing Led to Another" would get to #40 R&B while "Dancin' with Myself" would reach #5 R&B/#12 Dance. Neither would make the Pop chart.

ReduxReview:  Who back in the day didn't finish the work week and sing "just got paid, it's Friday night!" It was a great jam to kick off the weekend. Riley and Kemp's toss-in-the-kitchen-sink production drove the tune. It was loaded with synth pad hits, which back in the day sounded cool, but now sound dated and overwhelming. They was used way too much. Kemp and Riley were using the effect like a kid with a new toy - more, more, more!  Still, it remains a fun NJS track that rarely gets heard these days.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  This song was written by Keith Sweat and Johnny Kemp. Sweat had written the music with an eye towards using the track for his 1987 debut album Make It Last Forever. He tossed the tune over to Kemp for some lyrics. Once it was finished, Sweat decided that it wasn't right for his LP. Kemp then recorded a demo of the tune thinking that another artist would pick it up. However, needing songs for his own debut album, Kemp chose to keep the track for himself. It was a wise decision as it became a gold-selling #1 hit. It was produced by Kemp along with Teddy Riley. In 2000, Riley would revive the tune with *NSYNC. He would produce a version for the boy band's third album No Strings Attached. It was not released as a single.


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