A New Jack Swing classic and #1 R&B hit, this is a party song about a wonderful Friday night out with your friends: you're dressed up, looking good and have a full wallet because you just got paid.
The track was written and produced by Teddy Riley, who was an architect of the New Jack Swing sound, responsible for hits by Bobby Brown, Guy, Heavy D, Keith Sweat and many others before teaming up with Jimmy Jam to find even greater success working with Janet Jackson. Riley offered the song to Keith Sweat, who turned it down. In The Billboard Book of #1 R&B Hits, Kemp explained: "Keith took me over to Teddy's house and he didn't stay very long. That very day, he gave me the track for 'Just Got Paid' and I completed the lyrics. The chorus was already done and the basic premise of the song was already there. It was just a matter of completing the verses. I was trying to incorporate some of the contemporary language that was going on at the time: 'lookin' fly' and 'the posse' and all that. It was something he was working on with Keith and apparently Keith didn't like it enough to put it on his record. I liked it enough to put it on mine."
Johnny Kemp was born in Nassau in the Bahamas, and moved to New York as a teenager in 1979 to front a group called Kinky Fox. In the '80s, he became part of the club singer scene, which is where he met Keith Sweat and Teddy Riley. He cracked the Top-40 again with the #36 "Birthday Suit" from the 1989 movie Sing.
Kemp recorded his vocal at the end of the night as a scratch track in one take, and that take was the one they used on the recording.
Aaron Hall from the group Guy was brought in for background vocals.
The songwriter credits on this one are a little fudgy. Officially, it's listed as by Johnny Kemp and Gene Griffin. Griffin, who died in 2009, was a music executive who partnered with Riley. It's unclear if Griffin had any part in writing the song.
Kemp's Secrets of Flying album was released in December 1987. "Just Got Paid" peaked on the charts in June 1988.