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The Story Behind Jersey Club Music and Its Popularity Today

May 13, 2024 - Find out what Jersey Club Music is all about: how, where, and when it started. How Jersey Club sounds today and how you can make your own Jersey Club beats.

People dancing to jersey Club music

With Gen Z and millennials being arguably the most nostalgic generations alive today, it's hardly surprising to find out that the latest viral obsession has a rich history and culture that stretches back nearly three decades. 

This is the case with Jersey Club, a style of club music pioneered by Black Baltimore-based artists in the late 90s. The unique production methods used by Jersey Club artists have carved out an aggressive, yet melodic style of dance music which has taken social media by storm. 

Read more: Make you own Jersey Club music with Soundtrap!

History of Jersey Club

Jersey Club’s origins are often traced back to one founding father, DJ Tameil, who (as part of a collective known as the Brick Bandits) took influence from Hip-Hop, Chicago House and uptempo Baltimore Club music to create the iconic Jersey Club sound. 

Initially unaffiliated with the Brick Bandits, Tameil’s grassroots PR involved standing on Broad Street in downtown Newark, selling his burned CDs, and he established a reputation as a pioneering figure in the Baltimore dance music scene. 

This reputation attracted some unwanted attention, and after the release of Tameil’s first EP, a feud began between Tameil and DJs Tim Dolla and Mike V. However, this feud was eventually squashed when Tameil later joined the Brick Bandits, and the collective began releasing popular and influential mixtapes. 

The parties thrown by the Brick Bandits were considered safe spaces for young people, and a sense of community identity and cohesion sprung out from the safety, despite violence in Newark at the time. 

Initially known as ‘Brick City Club’, the genre began to take shape through the early to mid-2000s, and once its popularity extended beyond Newark, the genre took on a different name: ‘Jersey Club.’ 

The regional popularity of the genre was growing, but as EDM and Dubstep entered a period of domination in the early 2010s, Jersey Club found itself obscured, but an integral part of alternative dance music scenes.

Its re-emergence began in the late 2010s, and by 2020, Jersey Club had a mainstream anthem, delivered by New Jersey artist Cookiee Kawaii in the form of “Vibe (If I Back It Up).”

The song was her breakout single and viral hit, establishing a link between Jersey Club’s regional roots to a younger, international audience. Since then, more mainstream artists have helped popularise the genre by incorporating Jersey Club production styles into their music. 

These artists on major labels have been clamoring to recreate viral hits like ones from Badmanrill and Cookiee Kawaii, and TikTok is seen as an essential vehicle for a track’s success. 

The crossover between Jersey Club, Philly Club, bounce and hip-hop has allowed artists such as Drake and Lil Uzi Vert to capitalize in recent years. Drake’s slower, more passive interpretation was “Currents,” from his 2022 album Honestly Nevermind. Lil Uzi Vert’s “Just Wanna Rock” remains closer to its roots in terms of tempo and intensity, and their track dominated TikTok in 2023. 

It’s evident that Jersey Club and the crossover genres associated with it are more than just trends, but movements defining a musical landscape & form of social media where intensity, pop appeal, and corresponding dances are essential. The question is, what makes a beat Jersey Club?

Characteristics of Jersey Club

Jersey club is distinctly melodic, upbeat, sensual, and sometimes aggressive. Ultimately what makes a track ‘Jersey Club’ can be subjective, but typically these characteristics set the genre apart from other musically adjacent genres:

Choppy Vocals

The vocal samples used in Jersey Club are frenetic, and often very short, used in stabbing staccato fashion. The samples aren’t gently faded in either, they are aggressively peppered throughout songs, often in triplets.

The choppy vocals have a percussive quality which fizzles over the low end, giving each track an intensity and upbeat energy. They are also heavily processed and distorted, often until they are beyond recognition from the original sample.

Bouncing Kicks

Jersey Club is often described as having a ‘bouncy’ sound. This is a result of how the kicks are structured- again in the form of triplets, often aligning with the broken vocal samples. 

The kicks used are normally quite similar to 808s but often with more low end. The kicks provide the framework that allows the deconstructed samples to be reworked for the dancefloor.

Familiar Samples

Bed squeaks from Trillville’s “Some Cut”, percussive gunshots, and drum break samples from Lynn Collins “Think About It” are some of the familiar hallmarks of a typical Jersey Club track. You can hear bed squeaks and some heavy Jersey Club influence on Drake’s “Currents.”

Call and Response

Call and response is a compositional technique which involves two separate phrases, either vocal or instrumental, being heard in succession to form a conversation. This call and response element can be heard on “Hands on Ya Hips” by DJ Jayhood & DJ Joker.

High BPM

This call-and-response element of Jersey Club tracks was part of a larger part of crowd involvement that resulted in the BPM of the average track climbing higher. As the popularity of the genre grew, dancing became a far more important part of the scene. DJs were on the mic all night calling out dances, which Tim Dolla got sick of. He released a track calling out the dances, and as BPMs started to rise, dances became less accessible and more competitive.

Massive Bass

Bass lines in Jersey Club tracks are normally dominant, booming elements- 808 basses are frequently used. When you’re mixing a Jersey Club track, be mindful of how much space you have to leave for the bass, and try to get the bass and the kick working together in a cohesive relationship.

Corresponding Dances

Whilst not a musical characteristic, part of the virality and spread of Jersey Club can be attributed to the corresponding dances that are linked with each track. It was around the late noughties that competitive dancing began to become a key part of the scene. This was coincidentally around the same time MySpace began catapulting Jersey Club tracks into international consciousness, in the same way TikTok is helping another resurgence now.

Cover art to the Jersey Club sound pack in Soundtrap

Making Jersey Club Music

When it comes to making Jersey Club beats, incorporating the characteristics above would be a great start . Luckily, Soundtrap has created a Jersey Club Sound Pack, so your walls will be rattling with the sound of triplet kicks in no time!  

The "Jersey" pack contains 139 brand-new Jersey Club loops and samples, including earth-shattering kicks, chopped and distorted vocal samples, and a great selection of textured synths and FX.

Access the pack now to step into the musical soul of Brick City and create authentic East Coast Bounce with these defining sounds.

Tips and Tricks

  • The Kick - Getting the kick right is essential in creating that bounce and power. The 808 kicks used are quite often beefed up with tape saturation, and punch through the big basslines in order to drive the track. 

  • Hi Hats - The hi hats are often put in the same triplet pattern as the kick in order to accentuate the pattern at the higher end of the frequency spectrum. When you pan your hi-hats, try adding some sample delay to give them some width. 

  • Hooks - Vocal chops and hooks are a huge part of Jersey Club’s appeal. If you need some inspiration on where to start, try starting with the basic kick pattern, and then coming up with some catchy, frenetic vocal chops. The arrangement of the track will then be easier to build around. 

  • Samples - Don’t be afraid to use the classic samples that define Jersey Club, like bed squeaks or gunshots. They can add a great percussive quality to your tracks while communicating those Brick City influences. 

  • FX - Play around with your reverbs and delays to give your vocal samples space in the mix. Adding that extra layer of distortion will help separate the vocals and synths from the dryer sounds like the kicks and basses. 


It’s easy to forget the rich tapestry of pioneering artistry that sits behind the successes of viral tracks on TikTok and social media. The artists who helped define the Jersey Club movement curated a unique, authentic sound- all while providing a safe space for young people to enjoy themselves. 

The current resurgence of the genre is an indication of its power as a movement, and characteristics of Jersey Club will likely be a mainstay of modern pop production for many years to come.

About the author

Max McLellan is a composer, songwriter, and audio engineer with credits ranging across film, TV and radio. He provides composition, mixing, and mastering services through his company MKM Audio.

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