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Teddy Riley

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Teddy Riley
Riley in 2017
Riley in 2017
Background information
Birth nameEdward Theodore Riley[1]
Also known as
  • Lil Man
  • Street
  • Swingbeat
  • The Finisher
  • Jam[1]
Born (1967-10-08) October 8, 1967 (age 56)
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
  • Record producer
  • singer
  • songwriter
Years active1984–present
Member of
Formerly of

Edward Theodore Riley (born October 8, 1967) is an American record producer, singer, and songwriter credited with the creation of the R&B and hip hop fusion genre new jack swing. He is the founder and lead singer of the musical group Blackstreet, as well as its predecessor, Guy. The genre also gained popularity from acts who have utilized Riley's production and songwriting, such as Michael Jackson, Bobby Brown, Heavy D & the Boyz, Keith Sweat, and Hi-Five among others.[2]

With Guy and Blackstreet, Riley has released three and four studio albums, respectively. He has been credited on the US Billboard Hot 100 with number one singles released by other artists such as "I Like the Way (The Kissing Game)" by Hi-Five, "Stutter" by Joe, and "No Diggity" (featuring Dr. Dre and Queen Pen) by his group, Blackstreet. He handled production on the singles "Remember the Time" (1992) by Michael Jackson, "My Prerogative" (1988) by Bobby Brown, "Right Here (Human Nature Remix)" (1992) by SWV. Beginning with his work on the extended play Teddy Riley, the First Expansion In Asia (2011), Riley has since worked on releases in the Eastern pop market, having produced the singles "Call Me Baby" for Exo in 2015, "The Boys" for Girls' Generation in 2011, and "Mamacita" for Super Junior in 2014.[3]

Riley, a two-time Grammy Award winner, is recognized for his influence on the production of contemporary R&B, leading to further usage of samples, sound effects, and rapping segments as well as singing—a practice which in part was reminiscent of the Jackson family. He is also credited with popularizing modern use of the talk box vocoder, and discovering fellow Virginia-based musician Pharrell Williams in 1991.[4][5]

Early life[edit]

Riley was raised in St. Nicholas Houses in Harlem, New York City. A child prodigy from the age of five, he began playing instruments in church. His uncle, who owned the famed Harlem club The Rooftop, built a studio in the club in which Riley would spend most of his time while growing up. By age 15, he was beginning to work with artists like Doug E. Fresh.[6]


Under the guidance of local music producer Gene Griffin, Riley formed the short-lived group Kids at Work. At the age of 18, Riley produced Kool Moe Dee's 12" single "Go See the Doctor".[2] Released on an independent label in 1986, the song became a crossover hit, reaching number 89 on the Billboard Hot 100.[7] Riley had previously worked on the production of Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew's "The Show" in 1985.[8]

In 1987, Riley, Aaron Hall, and Timmy Gatling formed the R&B group Guy. In 1989, Riley produced Big Daddy Kane's "I Get the Job Done", as well as other work for the Jacksons, the Winans, and James Ingram. That same year, he helped produce the debut album of his rap group, Wrecks-n-Effect.[9] He also created the highly successful remix of Jane Child's "Don't Wanna Fall in Love", which became a crossover pop smash.[citation needed]

After the release and tour of Guy's second album, The Future, Riley co-produced half of Michael Jackson's album Dangerous on the recommendation of Jackson's long-time producer Quincy Jones.[citation needed] After the disbandment of Guy in 1992, Riley moved on to producing and promoting Wreckx-n-Effect's second album Hard or Smooth, which he also performed on.[citation needed]

In late 1991, Riley formed a second group, Blackstreet. The group would go on to release several major hits, including "Don't Leave Me" (1997), the number one single "No Diggity" (featuring Dr. Dre and Queen Pen) (1996), and "Girlfriend/Boyfriend" (with Janet Jackson featuring Ja Rule and Eve) (1999). By 2011, the group had disbanded and reformed several times.

In 2000, Riley worked with Spice Girl Melanie B on the tracks "ABC 123", "I Believe", and "Pack Your Shit" for her solo debut album Hot.[10] He also worked on an album with Outsiderz 4 Life, producing "Wil' Out" and other songs.

At the start of 2006, he was part of the New Jack Reunion Tour, featuring Blackstreet and Guy, in addition to After 7, SWV, and Tony! Toni! Toné!. In May 2006, Riley announced that he would be working on two key projects: a new Blackstreet album and a new Guy album.

In 2008, Riley was the victim of a Ponzi scheme that left him bankrupt. In June 2008, a fire destroyed Riley's Virginia Beach recording studio. Fire investigators said that an electrical problem caused the blaze that burned the abandoned recording studio. The Virginia Beach Fire Department said lightning in the area also could have been a factor, although there was no direct strike. The empty studio was for sale and was insured for $336,000.[11]

In 2009, Riley performed with Guy at the BET Awards.[12] In the same year, Riley worked with Amerie and Robin Thicke on their respective albums. Leading on from his work on Snoop Dogg's album Ego Trippin', Riley became part of the production supergroup QDT, which features DJ Quik as well as Snoop Dogg.[13][14][15]

Riley produced and co-wrote the song "Teeth" with Lady Gaga for her EP The Fame Monster. Speaking in March 2010 to Blues & Soul's Pete Lewis, Riley said that he was no longer affiliated with Guy (Riley had last performed with the group in October 2010). Riley also said that the current lineup of Blackstreet consisted of himself, Chauncey "Black" Hannibal, Dave Hollister, and Sherman "J-Stylz" Tisdale. He confirmed that he was working on a new Blackstreet album, though intended to release his own album – entitled TRX – first. Artists he could possibly be working with for the project included Stevie Wonder and Elton John, plus his own new, upcoming acts.[16] However, Hannibal stopped performing with the group and the lineup became Riley, Hollister, Mark Middleton, and Eric Williams. In 2012, Hannibal returned to Blackstreet; Middleton and Williams left the group. As of 2019, the group's lineup now consists of Riley, Hollister, J-Stylz, and Rodney Poe under the name "Blackstreet 2".[citation needed]

In an August 2010, co-executor of the Michael Jackson estate, John Branca, confirmed that a posthumous album of Jackson would be released, containing work done in the previous five years with producers Theron "Neff-U" Feemster, Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, and Riley, as well as work written and produced solely by Jackson himself. The album Michael was released on December 14, 2010, in the United States. After the release, several people questioned some of the music Riley produced for the project. Riley insisted all of the songs were sung by Jackson and claimed that vocal artifacts were added from overprocessing Jackson's voice. However, Riley made comments in an interview with Dan Dodds (also known as Soul Jones) in which he stated that there were some elements of his voice in the music. Riley is reported to have said, "They may use some elements from me, put together ideas but I haven't been working on the new album."[17]

Recently, Riley has stepped into the Korean music market. Riley worked with rapper Jay Park on an English track titled "Demon", which was originally meant for Michael Jackson. Riley produced a mini-album for the girl group Rania.[18][19]

He produced the tracks "Believe" and "Flow" by the R&B group Boyz II Men for the album Twenty. He has also produced Korean girl group Girls' Generation's single "The Boys" for the group's first international release. He has also produced songs for Girls' Generation's labelmates Shinee and Exo. He worked with Shinee on "Beautiful", "Shine", and "Dangerous" from their two-part third studio album The Misconceptions of Us. Riley also produced the songs "Milk" and "All Night" for f(x)'s third studio album Red Light and the song "What Is Love" for Exo.


With Kids at Work
  • Kids at Work (1984)
With Guy
With Blackstreet

Production discography[edit]


Production credits[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hogan, Ed. "Teddy Riley: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Hogan, Paul. "Teddy Riley biography" Allmusic Retrieved on September 19, 2009
  3. ^ "TEddy Riley". Grammy Awards. Retrieved September 30, 2023.
  4. ^ Murphy, Keith (April 3, 2020). "Teddy Riley Breaks Down Iconic Songs That Made Him The King Of New Jack Swing, Plans To Battle Babyface". Vibe. Retrieved September 30, 2023.
  5. ^ "Teddy Riley Recalls Discovering the Neptunes; Details Pharrell's "Rump Shaker" Contribution". December 3, 2020.
  6. ^ "Teddy Riley". www.redbullmusicacademy.com. Retrieved April 3, 2024.
  7. ^ Bush, John. "Kool Moe Dee > Biography". Allmusic. San Francisco, California: All Media Network. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  8. ^ "Teddy Riley New Jack Swing Hip Hop part 1". YouTube. October 9, 2007. Archived from the original on November 18, 2021. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
  9. ^ "TEDDY RILEY and WRECKX-N-EFFECT : Shakin' Their Moneymakers". Los Angeles Times. November 29, 1992. Retrieved February 25, 2022.
  10. ^ "Melanie B – Hot (CD, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. October 9, 2000. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
  11. ^ "Electrical problem caused fire at Riley studio in Va. Beach". WVEC. July 16, 2008. Archived from the original on February 20, 2009.
  12. ^ "Keith Sweat, Guy and BBD Medley". BET. New York City: Viacom. Archived from the original on July 6, 2009.
  13. ^ "Teddy Riley, Snoop, T-Pain Link With Korean Superstar Jay Park". AllHipHop.com. April 20, 2010. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
  14. ^ "[Update: MV] Rania releases debut single, "Dr. Feel Good"". Allkpop.com. April 5, 2011. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
  15. ^ "Teddy Riley praises TVXQ, Big Bang, & Yangpa after visiting "Inkigayo" set". Allkpop.com. April 27, 2011. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
  16. ^ "Teddy Riley & BLACKstreet: No Doubt". Bluesandsoul.com. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
  17. ^ "Soul Jones Words: Will The Real Blackstreet Please Stand Up? – Teddy Riley & Chauncey Hannibal Interview". Souljoneswords.blogspot.com. May 27, 2011. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
  18. ^ Dong-hee, Hong. "걸그룹 '라니아' 국내 최초로 한ㆍ미 동시 데뷔-프린트화면". biz.heraldcorp.com (in Korean). Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  19. ^ "Teddy Riley's International Girl Group RANIA's Debut Showcase". Soompi. April 7, 2011. Retrieved August 12, 2017.