My friend, producer/DJ Morgan Geist, recently released a single under his Galleria moniker called “Calling Card”/”Mezzanine,” which is heavily influenced by Latin freestyle. Since there is nothing more that I like to do than get paid to talk about freestyle, I invited him to the Gawker office for a podcast about the mostly forgotten ‘80s/early-’90s sub-genre of dance music that helped define my youth while growing up in South Jersey.
We discussed our favorite songs by artists like Shannon, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, Nocera, Stevie B, and Exposé, in addition to freestyle’s trademark tackiness, why the genre disappeared while house and techno thrived, and the hilariously flat singing that featured on many of the songs in the genre’s cannon.
[There was a video here]
Though freestyle has almost entirely faded from today’s pop, many of the genre’s acts continue to tour—last year, a Freestyle Extravaganza show sold out two nights at Radio City Music Hall. They’re doing it again this year. Pretty insane that such studio-based music lives on through live performance and that its audience remains loyal.
There are excerpts from over a dozen freestyle songs (and songs related to the genre) in the podcast above. For more context, including the full versions of most of the songs we discussed as well as a bunch of others that we didn’t talk about, I have assembled a Spotify playlist: