For most listeners, the sounds and tempos of Drake’s Honestly, Nevermind were too left-field to make a positive first impression. “So ignorant in my hood, they be like, ‘why the fuck you making techno?” the rapper explains on the 2022 track “Middle of the Ocean”, referencing the mixed reactions to the album that were mostly centered in a brand of music xenophobia: unfamiliarity gave way to dislike through unfair criticism. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, this obscure style foreign to mainstream soundwaves was inescapable. New Jersey club music has been around for awhile, but the mostly niche sub-genre has taken on a new life in the past year. Beyoncé adopted it throughout her dance-infused RENAISSANCE, Lil Uzi Vert hopped on the wave to inspire his mega-viral hit “Just Wanna Rock,” and New Jersey native Coi Leray has captured radio stations around the nation with the club remix to her smash song “Players.” Jersey club’s prominence doesn’t come without precedence; DJ’s in the region have molded the genre to fit the club scenes they often found themselves in. Now, a decades-old movement is evolving thanks to a community of innovators. Aside from the A-listers and trend-capitalists, artists like Bandmanrill have incorporated drill into Jersey club. MCVertt, who produced Uzi’s “Just Wanna Rock,” formulated the most infectious version of the sound.
Now, we meet Groovy, who comes by New Jersey’s regional sound honestly. A native of the Garden State, Groovy gravitated quite naturally towards the club music common in his surroundings. His father was a touring house DJ, aiding his inclination to become an artist himself. With a distinctive Jersey club feel, Groovy fuses R&B with the 140 BPM tempo standard of the genre. His latest single, “BADGURL,” Groovy brings his vision to life with astounding clarity. His writing, tone, and ear for melody not only differentiates himself from his contemporaries, but proves his approach to be worthwhile. The writing on the track proves Groovy to be an enabler, urging the girl of his desires to succumb to temptation and “come inside my world.” Assured and alluring, his invitation never approaches pleading. The overall sentiment is that if this is what she wants and what’s best for both of them, there’s no need for convincing. It’s difficult not to be encapsulated by the pockets Groovy fills with his easy-flowing voice, equally calming and commanding. “BADGURL” balances the hypnotic energy of Jersey club with the soul of 2000’s R&B, a combination so obviously complimentary that few artists have attempted it, as if it is hiding in plain sight. The single is coupled with the track “jersey luv,” an early 2023 release that only further evidences the potential to be capitalized on with Groovy’s fascinating boundary-defying ability.
To put a face to the name, press play on the music video for “BADGURL”, directed by Chris Andrade. Jersey club isn’t going away anytime soon, so it’s best to get familiar with who is dictating where it goes next. Groovy is on the short list of artists capable of expanding the limits of one of music’s fastest-growing sounds.
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