The Trailblazer: Teddy Riley - Page Two

Teddy Riley circa 1996...

By 1990, Teddy Riley was still re-mixing projects, including Jane Child's big hit, "Don't Wanna Fall In Love". Riley also found time to do production work on Hi-Five, a five member R&B group named out of Waco, Texas, blessing them with their biggest hit: "I Like The Way (The Kissing Game)", co-written and produced by Bernard Belle. Around this time, Teddy was most likely being contacted by Michael Jackson to produce the 'Dangerous' album.

A contractual dispute between Teddy Riley and Gene Griffin resulted in a parting of ways between the two. Then in the fall of 1990, Guy released 'The Future', an extremely worth follow-up to their 1988 debut. The mightily successful first single from 'The Future' was called "I Wanna Get With U" (and it sounded like an update of "My Fantasy"). The album's second single, "Let's Chill" (co-written and produced by Bernard Belle) is Guy's matrimonial masterpiece, and is widely considered by R&B fans to be one of the greatest love songs of all time.

The Guy campaign rolled on in 1991 with "Do Me Right" (featuring Heavy D) as the third single, and "D-O-G Me Out" as the fourth. During the spring of 1991, Teddy Riley and Aaron Hall blessed Heavy D's wildly successful "Now That We Found Love". During the fall of 1991, (citing creative differences) Guy abruptly disbanded during the release of their final single, ironically titled "Let's Stay Together". A few months later, Teddy (and Bernard Belle) scored big with Michael Jackson's "Remember the Time" - considered by some to be New Jack Swing's grand finale.

Editor's Note:

By late 1991, the landscape of the music industry was changing. When Seattle grunge act Nirvana emerged as the "next big thing" in music, that signaled the end of the Dance/Pop Era. That also meant much less crossover success for New Jack artists such as M.C. Hammer, Hi-Five and Karyn White. But things were only going to get worse for the New Jack Swing movement. Due in large part to America's long standing obsession with unflattering media depictions of Black people (profoundly revived by nonstop media coverage of the Los Angeles riots): Gangsta Rap replaced New Jack Swing as the dominant representation of Black people in popular music by the end of 1992.

Teddy Riley circa 1999...

Life after the New Jack Swing Era still went on for Teddy Riley. In late 1992, Teddy re-emerged with a new act entitled Blackstreet. With a song called "Baby Be Mine" from the CB4 soundtrack, Blackstreet sounded like a newer version of Guy, minus Aaron first. Blackstreet would go on to become very important players in the R&B world throughout the 1990s. Also in late 1992, Wreckx'N'Effect (note the new spelling) released their sophomore LP 'Hard Or Smooth', and unleashed one of the biggest songs of the 90s: "Rumpshaker".

From 1992 and on, Teddy has become a permanent fixture in Virginia Beach, VA at his Future Studios. At Future, Teddy would find the time to mentor future hit makers such as Tim Mosely (better known as Timbaland), Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams (better known as the Neptunes/N.E.R.D), and yes, Rodney Jerkins too. Teddy was also responsible for hits by: SWV ("Right Here/Human Nature"); Queen Pen's "Party Ain't A Party"; and Janet Jackson's "I Get Lonely" remix.

Although the ill-fated 2000 Guy reunion LP didn't do the Guy legacy any justice (at all!), Teddy's work with Michael Jackson on the 2001 'Invincible' album (and talkbox vocals on Brandy's album 'Full Moon') perhaps more than makes up for it. Maybe the best has yet to come from Mr. "Yup-Yup": the one and only Trailblazer, the Godfather of New Jack Swing, the man, the myth, the legend...Mr. Teddy Riley.

Editor's Note [1/2003] Teddy has regrouped BLACKstreet, and their fourth album is set for release on February 11th. You can also get a BRILLIANT listing of everything Teddy has ever worked on here


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