First popularized in the late '80s into the early '90s, Freestyle is a sub-genre of dance music that rarely gets its proper due. Drawing inspiration from Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force's classic 1982 track "Planet Rock," the sound would go on to dominate clubs from New York to Miami with artists like Stevie B, Lisa Lisa and Sa-Fire emerging as some the scene's more iconic names.
Although often overlooked, Freestyle remains a vital part of many Latin communities' cultural identities and it also serves as the jumping off point for Alexis Jae's latest single, premiering today off her forthcoming EP.
A proud Nuyorican from NYC who grew up listening to Freestyle, Jae decided to pay homage to the genre with her New Position-produced track, "Dangerous Emotion." She guides listeners down a path of toxic desire and fatal attraction amid a flurry of racing synths and hypnotic vocals. It's vintage with a modern edge, while staying true to the syncopated rhythms and sultry lyricism of Freestyle.
"Im a Boricua from NYC and I grew up listening to Freestyle music," Jae tells PAPER. "It's always been a dream of mine to make my own. I feel like the genre doesn’t get the shine it deserves. I really wanted this track to take you back in time, so I tried to keep the song and video as authentically Freestyle as possible."
Arriving alongside an equally nostalgic music video, Jae eschews the stereotypical spandex and big hair of '80s style for motorcycles, highway underpasses, city lights, a black latex dress and bold red lips.
"I shot and directed the video in Miami with my friend, Giancarlo Loffredo, who’s a filmmaker, and we wanted it to look like an old Lil Suzie or Stevie B video," Jae says. "I watched 'Spring Love' [by Stevie B] a bunch while editing. It’s giving high drama, doomed romance, cloudy Miami fantasy."
Check out the PAPER premiere of "Dangerous Emotion" by Alexis Jae, below.
Photography: Giancarlo Loffredo