The Jock Jam has Seventies roots in grandma-oriented disco (the Village Peoples' "YMCA") and chant-along bubblegum rock (Steam's "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye"). Some Jock Jams are rock jams but they usually thrive in the cheesy chewy space between the danciest dance-pop and poppiest pop-rap – they'll get it started in here, they'll pump up the jam, they'll let the dogs out, they're gonna make you sweat, they're weirdly appropriate to listen to while running a three-man weave.
The golden age of the form lasted from the late Eighties to the mid Nineties – from "It Takes Two" and "Whoomp (There It Is)" through "Hip-Hop Hooray" and EMF's "Unbelievable," and the Bucketheads' "The Bomb" and Montell Jordan's "This Is How We Do It" (all compiled on the classic five-volume series ESPN Presents Jock Jams). Sonic and lyrical innovations in hip-hop during the post-Timbaland/Jay-Z era have rendered the Jock Jam's simple volume-pumping, tootsie-rolling, EVERYBODY DANCE NOW!-ing pleasures somewhat déclassé these days. But the Jock Jam isn't going to end up in the locker room laundry bin of history anytime soon.
By Jon Dolan