Jennifer Lopez feat. Jack Mizrahi, “Tens” (A.K.A., 2014)
JLo vogues with ballroom MC Jack Mizrahi riding shotgun, and it works. She pays tribute to many of the classic ballroom houses and wisely lets Mizrahi do much of the heavy lifting. But her writers and producers knew what they were doing here: this is a vogue-the-house-down track, incredibly unexpected from a star of her stature, and it smokes.
Teddy Pendergrass, “The More I Get, The More I Want” (Teddy Pendergrass, 1977)
From his first solo album, this closer, co-produced and -written by McFadden and Whitehead (“Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now”), is a hot-ass Philly Soul disco-funk jam, actually heard during a ballroom scene in Paris Is Burning. Why? Because of its syncopation, almost like a 4/4 beat on top of a 4/4 beat: the beat on this is strong. Pendergrass’ vocal is, too, of course; he was in-fucking-capable of singing poorly. Never released as a single officially, though included on a disco 12″ alongside “I Don’t Love You Anymore” and “You Can’t Hide from Yourself” (which got to #7 on the Dance/Disco chart), this is a stealth bomb in TP’s catalog.
Mister Wallace, “It Girl” (Faggot EP, 2016)
This young & hungry Chicago rapper dropped 2016’s best vogue track with “It Girl,” taking a page from Azealia Banks’ musical playbook with a record that builds and builds to its chorus, nearly exploding, and then pulling back carefully before starting the sequence again. They can rap their ass off, and the track itself is phenomenal, all bleepy synth and crashing beats. I was thrilled by how much my colleagues at the Singles Jukebox liked it.
Rageous Projecting Kevin Aviance, “Cunty (The Feeling)” (single, 1996)
The bizarre artist credit aside (this is producer Jerel Black with vocalist Aviance, on a song they co-wrote), this absolute vogue classic was first introduced to me on the astonishing 2012 Soul Jazz comp Voguing & The House Ballroom Scene Of New York City 1976-96, my #2 album of the entire decade. Genderqueer before that was even a thing, Aviance oozes — nay, lives — attitude, and spreads it all over this record, starting with that not-for-polite-company title. You can hear from the way the beats drop that Black and Aviance had the ballroom scene in mind when making this — and for that matter, you can hear it in the lyrics, too. I have a hard time not making “vogue hands” any time I play this. Also, while I posted the “single edit” video above, what you really need is the extended almost-12-minute Club Mix.