Teddy Riley Says A Fatal Fight With New Edition Led To His Leaving Guy (Audio)
In 1990, Guy was one of the biggest R&B acts in the world. Teddy Riley, Aaron Hall, Damian Hall (following the exit of Timmy Gatling) would release two platinum albums for Uptown/MCA Records. Pioneers of the New Jack Swing, the group released an onslaught of hits like “Groove Me,” “Let’s Chill,” and “I Like.”
According to Teddy Riley, at the homecoming final date of their Future Tour, he told a crowd at New York City’s Madison Square Garden that he was leaving the group. Upon the conclusion of that show, Riley said he avoided his backstage dressing room, and went right to his car service to travel to Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch one day later. There, Riley would co-produce a bulk of Dangerous, and further propel his status as super-producer.
In a powerful, revealing conversation with Ed Lover’s C’mon Son Podcast, the Harlem native opens up about Guy, and why he really left the trio. Just before 40:00, Lover asks Riley, “when did Guy end and Blackstreet begin?” surrounding his two hit-making groups.
“When my best friend got killed: Anthony Bee,” Riley replies. “Remember when the New Edition/Guy altercation [happened]? A lot of people don’t know that it really wasn’t the principles: New Edition, Guy. It was the backing, road crew. They all had a thing about setting up on the stage, when that stuff happened. You’ll see it in [The New Edition Story]. But when all that stuff happened [New Edition and Guy] still remained friends, because it didn’t have anything to do with us. Like, a power-struggle from the top…not us. We were the artists and that’s all we thought about, just being on stage. I always want to clarify that every time [I speak about it].”
The SuperFest Tour incident took place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in July 9, 1989. Bee, who was security chief for Guy, was fatally shot. New Edition’s production manager Ronald Byrd was charged and later sentenced. UPI archives state that Byrd chased Bee from the Civic Arena venue to the nearby Hyatt Hotel, twice shooting the adversary in broad daylight. The concert was canceled. Reportedly, a feud between the roadies for the two MCA Records star groups began earlier that tour in Greensboro, North Carolina, when Guy played beyond its allocated time limit.
Byrd, found guilty of manslaughter in 1990, argued that Bee attacked him with a baseball bat. Following his sentence, Ronald has done tour management for T.I. and 2 Chainz in recent years. Guy’s manager and Teddy’s longtime business partner, the late Gene Griffin would also be charged for the altercation leading up to the shooting.
“I felt like when my best friend got killed, I felt like it was my responsibility to do something and make a difference because I lost somebody that was very close to me. It was like the big homie that looked out for us, me and Timmy [Gatling].” “When it happened, I said I got to do something to show that I care. I said, ‘I have to leave Guy.’ At that time, it was good for me. Because I got that call from Michael Jackson [too].”
That call led to Riley’s aforementioned onstage announcement at M.S.G. Notably, he offered Chauncey Black (who had been signed and dropped by Damian Hall’s label) his studio to live in while he went to California for Michael Jackson. Upon the return, Blackstreet began to take shape as Riley’s next act.
Elsewhere in the interview, Riley discusses producing for Kool Moe Dee, Doug E. Fresh, and others. He explains why Bobby Brown’s hit “My Prerogative” was never rightfully credited to him as producer, and Michael Jackson giving back the “Joy” track for Blackstreet to use. Riley adds that his famed Jackson productions began in Q-Tip’s closet-studio in Manhattan.