Jersey club

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Jersey club (originally called Brick City club[1]) is a style of electronic club music that originated in Newark, New Jersey in the early 2000s. It was pioneered by DJ Tameil and other members of the Brick Bandits crew, who drew direct inspiration from Baltimore club's hybrid of house and hip hop.[2]

Similarly to its Baltimore influences, Jersey club is an aggressive style defined by its fast, “bouncy” groove at tempos near 130–140 BPM,[2] but more prominent use of staccato, chopped samples and heavy triplet kick patterns.[3] The style often consists of remixes of rap and R&B tracks.[3] It is often accompanied by frenetic, competitive dances which have gained global popularity through viral videos.[1]

Style and characteristics[edit]

Jersey club has been described as a "fast and aggressive dance music" with roots in the Baltimore club scene's fusion of house music and hip hop.[2] By comparison with the Baltimore style, Jersey producers prioritize harder kick sounds and more extensively chopped samples.[3] The distinctive "bounciness" of the style is a result of its triplet percussive patterns and breakbeat rhythms, often derived from the beat of Tapp's "Dikkontrol."[4] 808 bass sounds and sampled breaks from Lyn Collins' "Think (About It)" are commonly employed, as well as varied pop culture references.[4] Common audio programs used are Sony Acid Pro and FL Studio.[1]

Producers make use of "big kick drum triplets and vocal clips that call out dances, or chopped samples from top rap and R&B tracks," and construct the tracks on "anything from jog shuttle MP3 controllers to turntables and Serato."[1] Brick Bandits member Dirty South Joe noted that "vocals are chopped, fragmented and layered over heavy bass kicks to deconstruct the source material, and rework it for the dance floor."[4] He called it "aggressive, yet melodic and sexy."[4] Billboard described it as "repetitive and loud [..] It lands somewhere between New York's vogue and Chicago's juke with a little bit of that nasty from Miami bass."[5] DJ Sliink summarized it as "a more urban take to dance music with chopped vocals and breaks."[4]


Origins: 1999–2002[edit]

Chicago house was popular in Newark's 1990s club scene, where it was referred to generically by some as "club music."[1] Other styles such as urban club and juke were also played.[2] By 1999, Baltimore house records such as Tapp's "Shake Dat Ass" and "Dikkontrol" were influential, and DJs such as Nix In The Mix, Mustafah, Torry T and Mista Quietman helped to introduce this sound to New Jersey.[1] DJ Tameil, who became known for his Chicago house mixtapes as a teenager, later established connections with the Baltimore scene through Bernie Rabinowitz of the Music Liberated record store; he was subsequently introduced to Baltimore stars such as DJ Technics and Rod Lee. [1] Tameil did not put artist names on his mixes, making it difficult for other Jersey producers to identify his sources.[1] He began playing Baltimore records at teen parties and clubs in the downtown Newark area.[2]

Broad Street in downtown Newark, NJ, where DJ Tameil sold his burned CDs.

Tameil was among the first Jersey artists to produce his own club tracks in 2001 with the Dat Butt EP, released on his own label Anthrax Records.[1] A week later the Newark group The OG's also self-released an EP titled Official Ghetto Style.[1] Tameil began to burn his own CDs and sold them on Broad Street in Newark. Around this time, DJs Tim Dolla and Mike V also began producing their own club tracks as the Brick Bandits to challenge Tameil's monopoly on the market.[1] The two parties initially feuded but Tameil later joined the group,[2] coining the phrase "Brick City club" in 2002 in reference to Newark's nickname "Brick City."[1] They released popular mixtapes which featured both club and house tracks.[1] Around this time, Bernie Rabinowitz died and the steady stream of Baltimore releases into New Jersey largely ceased, leaving Jersey artists to develop their own scene.[1] Club parties, hosted primarily in ballrooms and banquet halls, began emerging in Newark and surrounding suburbs such as East Orange and Irvington.[1] Despite violence in the city, parties thrown by the Brick Bandits or at the Branch Brook Skating Rink were known to be safe spaces for kids.[1]

Regional development: 2003–2009[edit]

Many young Newark producers soon began leaving for college or employment, causing there to be a temporary drought of producers around 2003 but spreading the style to other locations.[1] Meanwhile, Tameil, Dolla, and Mike V were utilizing Sony Acid Pro, a digital audio workstation that remains popular with Jersey club producers, to create music and support themselves.[1] Around 2005, a younger generation began to emerge alongside these older producers, with groups like the Partyhoppers of Elizabeth, NJ initially dissing and then joining the Brick Bandits.[1] Around this time, the name of the genre changed to "Jersey club" to account for its spread beyond Newark, as increasingly popularity on college campuses and the success of Baltimore club raised the scene's profile on the Internet, particularly through Myspace.[1][2]

Around this time, the Jersey style drifted away from the Baltimore template and its palette became more distinctive as younger producer-DJs such as Nadus, Sliink, Jayhood, and R3LL began receiving recognition.[1] R3LL, then a high school student, became known as a promoter of parties and later spread the music to college campuses in North Jersey.[6] Around 2007, Philadelphia began developing its own club scene influenced by the Jersey style.[7] Around 2008, the genre began receiving airplay on major rap and R&B stations like Hot 97 and Power 105.[1] By 2009, it had spread to 21+ clubs and new, older demographics.[1] Around this time, the scene shifted toward competitive dancing and battling became a central element inspired by DJ Fresh's "Get Silly,"[7] along with MCing by figures such as Lil Man.[1] Tim Dolla produced a hit track called "Swing Dat" in reference to the popular dance move, and subsequent dance tracks like DJ Fresh's "Get Silly" and Jayhood's "Patty Cake" went viral via YouTube.[1]

International attention: 2010–present[edit]

By 2010, electronic music artists from other scenes were drawing influence from the Jersey club sound, including Norwegian producers Cashmere Cat and Lido; LA club producers; "festival trap" and EDM producers with the support of Mad Decent and Skrillex; and dance artists such as Brenmar and the Night Slugs label roster.[1] Concerns about appropriation of the style have become prevalent, with privileged outsiders coopting the sound to get bookings.[1] R&B singer Ciara, in her comeback single "Level Up," uses a beat structure that is similar to that which is used in Jersey club music.[8] For DJ Khaled's single "To the Max", DJ Jayhood even claims that DJ Khaled was inspired by his Jersey club single "HeartBroken".[9] Jersey club also played an essential role during the early and mid-2010s in the development of experimental dance genres, such as deconstructed club.[10] Jersey club became an integral fixture of the alternative NYC party scene and was played at underground parties such as GHE20G0TH1K which served to be essential to the developing sound of deconstructed club music.[10]

The style and its direct derivatives have become known on the internet due to music sharing websites and social media such as SoundCloud, YouTube, Vine and Dubsmash across the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe.[11][12][13] Meanwhile, native Jersey DJs such as Uniiqu3 and DJ Sliink have taken the sound to international audiences, and rave-like parties such as DJ Nadus's #THREAD and Uniiqu3's #135 have incorporated more eclectic formats of club music.[1] When Uniiqu3 began DJing in 2009 at age 18, she was likely the only female DJ in the scene; today, other female producers such as Kayy Drizz and So Dellirious are also present.[7] In December 2014, Newark hosted the Jersey Club awards to honor artists from the scene.[1] In 2019, Uniiqu3 began the PBNJ party series bringing together club artists from Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New Jersey.[14]

In 2019, Jersey club artist Unicorn aka Killa Kherk Cobain's song "It's Time" shifted the Jersey club sound into the hip-hop mainstream after being debuted at the 2019 Summer Jam Concert by Hot 97's DJ Enuff.[15][16][17][18][19] Unicorn aka Killa Kherk Cobain ks credited as the first to person to rap on a Jersey club record after rapping on his 2007 collaboration with the late DJ K-Swift, "Tote It Remix".[20][21] Spin Magazine described Killa Kherk Cobain's fusion of trap rap, house music, and Jersey club as "the less innocent side of the Jersey club scene".[22] Killa Kherk and his producer DJ Fade (a collective known as "Jersey Gods") have since lent their unique fusion of Jersey Club/Hip Hop production to mainstream recording artists, including Pop Smoke, Fivio Foreign, Chris Brown, and Swizz Beats.[23][24]

Jersey club artist Cookiee Kawaii's song "Vibe" was a 2020 viral sensation, sparking worldwide fanfare on the social media app TikTok.[25]

Track star and Olympic gold medalist Sydney McLaughlin, of Dunellen, New Jersey, has said she listens to Jersey club music.[26]

Dance culture[edit]

Strong emphasis on dance accompaniment is a major element in Jersey club culture, as evidenced by performances at Jersey club-centric events, including Essex County's Highlights Festival held annually in the summer. [27]

The 2016 Running Man Challenge, a viral meme in which participants filmed and shared short clips of themselves performing a dance resembling running to the 1996 song "My Boo," was based on well-known Jersey club moves. The original videos were posted on Vine by high school students in Newark-adjacent Hillside, New Jersey.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac Steyels, Mike. "Jersey club: From Newark to the world". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Sky's the Limit: An Oral History of Jersey Club". The Fader. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Greenfield, Jeff. "What is Jersey Club Music?". Run the Trap. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e Admin. "THE RISE OF JERSEY CLUB". DJ Mag. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  5. ^ Slink, DJ. "The 41 Best Jersey Club Songs Ever". Billboard. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  6. ^ R3LL. "The 10 best Jersey club tracks, according to R3LL". Dummy Mag. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Thump. "DJ Uniique and the Rise of Jersey Club". Vice. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  8. ^ Smith, Da’Shan (August 22, 2018). "Master Class: How New Orleans, New Jersey, Miami and Baltimore run Bounce, Bass and Club mixes". REVOLT.
  9. ^ "Jayhood Claims He "Inspired" Drake and DJ Khaled's New Song".
  10. ^ a b "The Radical Dissonance of Deconstructed, or "Post-Club," Music". Bandcamp. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  11. ^ "Metronome: R3LL". Insomniac. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  12. ^ "DJ 4B Talks Wu-Tang, Jersey Nightlife and not categorising his music". Stony Roads – The quintessential stop for everything Dance Music. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  13. ^ "Jersey Club in New Zealand? VICE and BOSE are investigating why with their Seeds and Stems series". Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  14. ^ "WHO WILL BE THE WINNER OF UNIIQU3'S SOUND KIT CONTEST?". HangTime Magazine. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  15. ^ Retrieved 2020-09-16. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ "We Are Jersey: September 2018". Issuu. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  17. ^ MarvinRyles (2019-08-12). "In the Life of Killa Kherk Cobain | The FAM". The FAM Collective. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  18. ^ "Killa Kherk Cobain". Necessary Studios. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  19. ^ "It's Time…Right Now". Melaninated Minds Coalition. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  20. ^ "Video: Kherk Cobain, "Adventures of the Unicorn"". The FADER. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  21. ^ "Video: 151 Feva Gang, "Kush Groove"". The FADER. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  22. ^ "We Got That Ass! Inside the World of Jersey Club | SPIN – Page 4". Spin. 2013-03-26. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  23. ^ "Fetty Wap and Slick Rick Surprise Crowd at 2019 Lincoln Park Music Festival". 2019-07-31. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  24. ^ "Unicorn + DJ Fade Explain What Jersey Club Is & Bringing It To a New Level". Power 105.1 FM. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  25. ^ "Cookiee Kawaii Wants to Serve You a Giant Glass of 'Club Soda'". PAPER. 2020-08-28. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  26. ^ "Song that’s been on her playlist the longest: “‘Team Lilman Anthem’ by DJ Lilman. I’m from New Jersey, and Jersey club music has helped me get hype since freshman year of high school.”
  27. ^ Jones, Jiggy (July 10, 2018). "North Jersey Festival Brings Out the Best of Jersey Club Culture".
  28. ^ Laird, Sam (3 May 2016). "The originators of 'The Running Man Challenge' are two awesome high school kids". Retrieved 1 July 2016.