Class Of '88: GUY

Every decade there is a producer that emerges and changes music completely. These masters of melody create an entire new sound that changes how we talk, dance, dress, and move. Quincy Jones did it with his work in molding a then young Michael Jackson and much more. Sean Combs did it his way in the 90’s; dominating the charts with Bad Boy Entertainment. There would be one producer that would arise in between those two aforementioned time periods and redefine rhythm and blues.

Originally from Harlem, New York it would seem Teddy Riley was birthed to produce. This legendary producer has gone on to work wonders sonically from anywhere to Pop to Rap. He would get his initial start behind the boards with his work with influential singing trio Guy. Riley blended soul vocals with Hip-Hop beats, single handedly creating one of the most popular sounds in R&B history; New Jack Swing.

Originally released June 13th, 1988 Guy would be one of the most influential R&B albums ever released. Compromised of Teddy, Aaron Hall, and Timmy Gatling, their self-titled debut album was an instant smash, spawning hits such as "I Like," "Spend The Night," "Teddy's Jam," and their signature “Groove Me”. Now twenty years later we pay tribute to this classic. The man himself Teddy Riley gives us a track by track break down, talks about how he got things swinging, a beef with New Edition that turned fatal, and clears up recent rumors of financial hardship.

“Groove Me”

Produced By Teddy Riley

I did that in my apartment in the projects. When I made the beat, I brought the guys over. They heard it and Aaron just started running through lines on top of it. Timmy started running some lines across it and we came up the song title “Groove Me.” Of course all three of us love women, so that was our way to get at chicks on an up tempo song.

I didn’t know the song was going to be so big. I just knew I had a song that was going too be played on WBLS in my city and I was good.

“Teddy’s Jam”

Produced By Teddy Riley

I always had some beats hanging around; Aaron was like this could be one of those records and that I should have my own record. I wanted a Guy record. I didn’t want something that had Teddy all over it. He said “this would be great for you, you’re a good producer, you been making records and people need to know as a producer.” That’s how we did it.

“Don’t Clap…Just Dance”

Produced By Teddy Riley

Back in the day, you used to go to certain clubs and just clap to a record and not dance to it. The girl would dance in front of the guy and not dance. So we were like don’t clap your hands, just dance. It was more for a woman, but we kept it like a Guy song it kind of kept it real with dudes on the dance floor. I knew our sound was different, it was New Jack Swing. I took different genres of music and put it all together. It was all of the different legend’s sounds, I knew had something different. I didn’t know it would have such an impact though.

“You Can Call Me Crazy”

Produced By Teddy Riley

That was a song we wrote with Al B. Sure. Timmy wrote it and we gave it to Al B. Sure. Our manager Gene Griffin took the song back because we need to fill this album and we didn’t need to give hits away. He always felt everything we did were hits. We always kept songs and always took songs back from a lot of people. I always kind of had a vision for people I was working for. If I did a song for a person, it was for that person only.

I’ll tell you now twenty years later we ended up keeping Al B. Sure’s voice on the record (laughs). It’s not all Timmy Gatling. Timmy had quit the group at the time and we wanted to keep that song on the album. We asked Andre Harrell if we can keep Al’s voice on there and he was with it.

“Piece Of My Love”

Produced By Teddy Riley

“Piece Of My Love” is a joint I came with on the b-side. Aaron was the ladies man and he was always messing around with crazy girls so he didn’t ever give any girl his love. He just gave them a piece.

“I Like”

Produced By Teddy Riley

That was another song we had done. All the songs were done in my apartment in my projects on an Akai twelve track. I was loading so many sounds into those tracks. I was stacking my drums because I only had twelve tracks. We went to a big studio and we couldn’t even reproduce that sound. Our manager at the time Gene made us bring the twelve track to the big studio.

“Round And Round (Merry Go Round Of Love)”

Produced By Teddy Riley

On that record, we were talking about chicks that back in the day were giving us the run around and now they’re basically feeling us. Girls were driving us nuts, so we couldn’t stay focused. We didn’t mean anything behind it, it was a just a joint to jam to.

“Spend The Night”

Produced By Teddy Riley

I kind of made song for Aaron to sing and they made me sing it. They made me sing it because they felt it should be me because I started the song, wrote the song and Aaron helped me on it. I didn’t want to sing it. When I did the whole song, I didn’t know how it sounded; I was just trying to get opinions from everybody and everyone said it sounds incredible. That same morning after we finished that song I got into a car accident. We were actually jamming up the song in my manager’s 5.0. I hit a Cadillac dealer and hit a lot of cars; all brand new. Thankfully that was the last song we did for the album.

“Goodbye Love”

Produced By Teddy Riley

That was a song Tammy Lucas who was on our label who wrote it for us. She just did her thing on that. Actually Tammy and I were writing really tough then. She came up with that song, it was incredible. I can only remember that.

“My Business”

Produced By Teddy Riley

That was the only song that Timmy did on the album fully. That song is written by him and I just came up with a beat for it that fit the song. Timmy left the group because he felt like he wasn’t getting the attention. He also felt Gene was jerking us. He kind of had a good instinct because Gene did jerk us.

[In regards to knowing the album would be big]

Man I didn’t know. We didn’t know this going to be a successful album. We didn’t think anything was going to happen for us. The album didn’t pick up until a year later. We went on the road to work the album. It started to pick up on its own until we saw it like dam, how is this happening. A year later the album was at a million and six months after that it went double platinum. With me knowing it was a classic? I would say almost ten years later. People always told us it was a classic but we believed it when we saw it.

[In regards to the rush of everyone wanting the New Jack Swing sound]

Oh yeah man. That was cool though, I was still doing what I did which was working on peoples records. Even though I had the group I still had the production. I was always in the house working on music.

[In regards to his production influence on Sean Combs]

Of course, he has always admitted it. People have always asked him and he has always said Teddy is a big influence. Even when he got his star on the walk of fame, he admitted. He invited me to the party. He showed me the love.

"We got into a big thing with New Edition. We were doing so well and we had a show that couldn’t be stopped. So there was always a friendly competition and we were smashing everyone on the road. It been became a big thing and my friend got killed."

[In regards to Guy’s beef with New Edition]

We got into a big thing with New Edition. We were doing so well and we had a show that couldn’t be stopped. So there was always a friendly competition and we were smashing everyone on the road. It been became a big thing and my friend got killed. That was in ’88 or ’89. It just had something to do with the road crew. Their road crew was setting up on our stage and our guy didn’t let them set up on our stage. Our guy got into a confrontation backstage with their guys. This led people to think that Guy had a conflict with New Edition, which we didn’t. Anyone from that era will remember that tragedy. All of us are cool now.

[In regards to recent rumors of financial hardships]

Yeah I did go through that moment. It was basically beyond my control because you know I had a bunch of storage spaces with a few different things. I lost a few, other than that I’m straight. My family is good, my beautiful children are with me, I’m a single parent and I’m enjoying life. That’s pretty much it.