Sorry I’m a day late! Even Divas have to work sometimes…I’m still continuing my trip through 4 decades and we have now reached the 80’s.
This Monday’s Mix is all bout the New Jack Swing!
Teddy Riley is and was a genius back in his Uptown days. Every album that came out by Uptown, I was up in the record store on 145th st and Amsterdam copping the 33! Believe that. My sweet sixteen party was almost completely a Teddy Riley party!!! All the Rice dances…the dances at the parks..Every teen party was an Uptown party in Harlem!
Also…I know folks love videos so here’s a small treat…a song that didn’t make it onto the mix…I coulda kept going but 80 mins is the limit folks!
I Like – Guy
Teddy’s Jam 1 – Guy
90’s Girl – Blackgirl
Rumpshaker – Wreckx N Effect
Him or Me – Today
I Want Her – Keith Sweat
Groove Me- Guy
I Don’t Wanna Fall In Love- Jane Child
Anything (Remix) – SWV and Wu-Tang
So You Like What You See – Samuelle
Hard to Get – Hi-Five
I Will Do For You – Father MC
Everything’s Gonna Be Alright-Father MC
Is It Good To You – Heavy D and The Boyz
Is It Good To You – Tammy Lucas
Poison – Bell Biv Devoe
Motownphilly – Boyz to Men
Feels Good – Toni Tone Tony
Just Got Paid – Johnny Kemp
Dangerous – Michael Jackson
Alright – Janet Jackson Ft. Heavy D
It’s Time – The Winans ft Teddy Riley
Remember The Time – Michael Jackson
Do the Right Thing- Redhead Kingpin
New Jack Swing – Teddy Riley
Uptown Anthem – Various Artists
Bio below the break
At the age of 25, he was one of the most sought after producers in America. James Ingram, The Winans, Bobby Brown, Today, Boy George, Wrecks’N’Effect, Fine Young Cannibals, New Kids On The Block and even Jacko… The box office jet set was litteraly running after his talent at the time, the way those billionaires come to Sothesby’s in London to pick up some famous painter’s work.
Name : RILEY
First name : EDWARD THEODORE aka TEDDY
Date of Birth : 10/08/1967
Place Of Birth : Harlem, NY
Particular signs : inventor of the New Jack Swing
Would the things ever be what they are without this man’s precious contribution ? Dis I can’t tell, although his numerous works have no doubt influenced a new generation of artists and producers while redefining a genre on its whole – the R&B – the way Jazzie B of the Soul II Soul fame would do in UK when giving birth to the so called Brit soul.
When I came to meet him and his current pals (Aaron & Damion Hall altogether know as Guy) in September 1991 at this London concert hall formerly know as the Hammersmith Odeon. Riley had already spent more than half of his life making music. From his very first jams with local Harlem bands such as Kids At Work and Total Climax and his debut as a producer for Doug E. Fresh and Classical 2 to a whole bunch of killer grooves for people such as Johnny Kemp, Keith Sweat, Bobby Brown, Starpoint, Wrecks’N’Effect and the list goes on, not to mention his contribution on Michael Jackson’s Dangerous album which would sell more than 15 million copies ! No doubt, Teddy had already have many ups at the time but also downs in the meantime like his divorce with his godfather and former manager Gene Griffin, the splitting of Guy two years later and the arrival of a whole bunch of imitators which would try to recapture the essence of his sound.
What makes Riley’s work so fundamental is the fact that he litteraly revolutionnized the approach of making music at a period where the funk had almost lost its essence. There was a need for a brand new shuffle which was to be brought by production teams such as Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis (Alexander O’Neal, Cherelle, Janet Jackson), Antonio L.A. Reid & Kenneth Edmunds Babyface (Bobby Brown, Karyn White, The Mac Band, Whitney Houston), and Denzil Foster & Thomas McElroy (Timex Social Club, En Vogue, Tony! Toni! Toné!). Not to mention our man who would happen to be associated with Gene Griffin (his godfather) for some time.
Funk was nearly dead at the time potentially speaking as was the so called rhythm & blues, synonymous with old fashionned made music an dit was obviously the time for a new generic name to come out of the hat and this is how R&B saw the light. Therafter, what we was able to read on Spotlight as special issue made by the likes of Billboard Magazine as a commemoration to the month of US Black Music in June 1991 : R&B = soul + funk + hip hop, as written by columnist Janine McAdams who was mentionning the tendancy to a new traditionnalism within the production with the reintroduction of live elements and strong lyrics, the return of true singers avec well as those influences inherited from soul, funk and eventually jazz. All of that, not only on the so called R&B, but also on the hip hop production. In addiction to this, let’s not forget, the beginning of the acceptance of the Black community mediawise with the heavy success of actor/rapper Fresh Prince on the Fresh Prince Of Bel Air sitcom on NBC. But also the recognition of the Black cinema with films such as Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever or Do The Right Thing, Mario Van Peebles’ New Jack City and ‘s Boyz In The Hood to name but a few ; all of them delivered with appropriate soundtracks giving an extra exposure to the music makers.
As for the definition of New Jack Swing, Guy member Damion Hall said to me : New Jack Swing is a new sound made by the blending of elements taken from rap, funk, gospel, rock, classic music, rhythm & blues, jazz and hip hop. This concept is unique. You may find pop or jazz on the so called swingbeat but you’ll never see this so particular cocktail anywhere else but on Teddy’s music.
That… guy had something for sure since his earliest days, but dealing with music is a thing meanwhile doing the same with the ‘papers’ is a far different one which would lead Teddy to accept the protection of Gene Griffin who happened to be his godfather. Gene deserves respect at least for one thing, said Hall. He’s taken care of the business side of the things for us, but he also has managed to have of full control on us once he had our signatures. He’s taken advantage on Teddy’s Kindness to put his name on everything that Teddy was doing. Gene wasn’t a writer, nor was he an arranger. Bobby Brown’s ’My Prerogative’, that was Teddy and Aaron’s work. Same thing for the Jacksons’ ‘She’ song as well as for Guy’s first album with the addiction of Timmy Gattling. Gene’s never got anything to do with this apart from acting as a sort of executive producer. As for the rest, he acted like an impostor !
Approaching Teddy Riley and observing him either while rehearsing or live on stage with the brothers Hall and later on with BLACKstreet happened to be quite informative as far as what the man was made of. Not to mention this face to face chat that we had right after one of his London concerts.
That man, although being only 24 at the time, was litteraly obsessed by his art, in search for new combinations which would come up out of the impressive material which was surrounding him at every moment of his life. One could see the determined look of a virtuoso on his eyes as well as a true receptivity as far as what the closest members of his crew were relating him. I’m working on some new sound/techniques with Heavy D & The Boyz that I’ve tested on the cover version of ’Now That We Found Love’ and ‘Is It Good To You’, he explained to me. Now that I’ve left NYC to live in Virginia, I find it a bit easier.
Regarding Michael Jackson’s album that he co-produced, he said : I’ve spent a lot of time making sure that what we’ve done in common would be different from whatever I’ve done in the past. Dropping an ultimate confidence, he added : I don’t like that digital sound used by almost everyone right now. To me, it’s too polished. I’d rather go for the analogic textures and develop them in order to get some more punch on my music, as notoriously shown a little bit later on within his new venture with Chauncey Hannibal, Dave Hollister and Levi Little under the BLACKstreet guise and the memorable ‘No Diggity’.
Quite some time though without hearing from a man who influenced so many reputed producers today from Sean ‘Puffy Combs’ to Rodney Jerkins (who stood as his spiritual son), Timbaland and many others.