Taraji P. Henson will host and also serve as producer on podcast series “Jacked: The Rise of New Jack Swing,” delving into the origins of the influential music scene — and its ultimate decline.
The six-part series comes from podcast company Wondery and Universal Music Group, the first joint project under the companies’ previously announced partnership. It’s set to premiere Nov. 17 on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, the Wondery App and other podcast platforms.
Screenwriter Barry Michael Cooper, whose credits include “New Jack City” and “Sugar Hill,” serves as consulting producer. “Jacked: The Rise of New Jack Swing” is written by Rico Gagliano and Andy Hermann.
The series focuses on the complex relationships of a group of teenagers from Harlem who would create New Jack Swing, a sound that took the music industry by storm. Told through Wondery’s style of character-driven storytelling, the series will feature dozens of interviews including band members and managers, and extensive music from UMG’s catalog.
From 1987 to 1992, New Jack Swing’s fusion of hip-hop and R&B dominated the charts with hits like Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative,” Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison,” Tony Toni Tone’s “Feels Good” and Wreckx-N-Effect’s “Rump Shaker.”
The genre’s lasting influence can be heard today in artists who were shaped by New Jack Swing artists and producers including Teddy Riley, who was a member of the band Guy. But “Jacked” promises to tell “the real story” behind the music: “It’s a story of dashed hopes, jealousy, betrayal, drugs, hip-hop and rivalries. And it all comes to a head with a fatal shooting during a massive summer concert tour,” according to the announcement from Wondery and UMG.