Teddy Riley Reveals Some Of Heavy D’s Biggest Hits Were Meant For Wreckx-N-Effect
UPDATE: Teddy Riley’s full Red Bull Music Academy Festival lecture video with Jeff “Chairman” Mao:
ORIGINAL MAY 15 POST: Earlier this month, artist/producer Teddy Riley appeared before a live New York City audience as part of the Red Bull Music Academy speaker series. There, the Harlem, New Yorker spoke about his expansive career, including founding membership in Guy and Blackstreet. Along the way, Riley made smash hits for Michael Jackson, Bobby Brown, Keith Sweat, and had a hand in Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick’s “The Show.”
In his conversation, Riley pointed out that a lot of hits for longtime collaborator Heavy D, were snatched from the hands of hungry artists, including within his own family. “Heavy D steals all my songs,” Riley said, as quoted by The Boombox. Riley then cited 1989’s “We Got Our Own Thing,” and 1991’s “Is It Good To You,” and “Now That We Found Love” as tracks intended for Wreckx-n-Effect, a group including Teddy’s brother Markell. “Now That We Found Love” would peak at #5 on the R&B charts (a best for Heavy D & The Boyz), and feature Guy’s Aaron Hall. All three songs would be Top 15 hits on the aforementioned charts for the MC from “money-earnin'” Mount Vernon.
Apparently, in his post-Heavy D & The Boyz years, “Waterbed Hev” also wanted Blackstreet’s would-be #1 “No Diggity.” “[Heavy D is] sitting at the board and I’m sitting at the board and he’s like, ‘You know you should give me that record’ and I’m like, ‘Not this time,’” Riley told the audience. Notably, the producer and MC with history dating back to the mid-’80s did not work together on the pivotal ’97 LP.
Wreckx-N-Effect would score a #2 single with “Rump Shaker” co-produced by Teddy, the band, as well as Ty Fyffe (50 Cent, Jay Z, Flipmode Squad). In 1996, the group disbanded.
In the conversation, Riley also stated his role in Doug E. Fresh’s breakthrough hit. T.R. added the Inspector Gadget theme and additional sound effects to a record that otherwise showcased Doug’s beat-boxes, and tremendous interplay with a young MC Ricky D.
In conjunction with the RBMA discussion, Red Bull compiled an oral history of “New Jack Swing,” the sub-genre with which Riley is closely associated. Author/MC Zilla Rocca and Chris Daly interviewed Riley, Kwamé, Hank Shocklee, Doc Ice, and Wreckx’ Markell.
Kwamé Holland, who remains a producer after hits like “Only You” and “The Rhythm” watched his collaborator feed hits to another icon: The King Of Pop. In 1991, Michael Jackson brought Riley to the fold for his first solo album in more than four years. “Once Michael [Jackson] stepped in the picture, Teddy stopped working with everybody. And no one else got Teddy Riley beats but Michael Jackson. I think Michael’s input, along with the genius of Teddy Riley, turned New Jack Swing into Pop. So there’s a whole section of the world that only knows ‘Remember the Time’ and ‘Dangerous.’ They have no idea who Guy is. They have no idea who Hi-Five is. They probably don’t even know who Teddy Riley is.” Notably, on “Jam,” Teddy brought Heavy with him.
Later in the interview, Kwamé cites Soul II Soul and Mary J. Blige’s “Real Love” for closing down the New Jack Era. He expounds, “There’s always something going on in the streets that’s not going on in the clouds. Michael Jackson was in the clouds. And the Soul II Soul sound and that Uptown sound started to come, then that was in the streets. By the time the Dangerous album faded, so did New Jack Swing. New Jack Swing started with The Classical Two and ended with Michael Jackson. It ends at ‘Remember the Time’ to me.” Jackson and Riley would reconvene on 2001’s Invincible.
Hank Shocklee, whose Bomb Squad collective made “Poison” for Bell Biv DeVoe, says New Jack Swing lives on. “New Jack Swing is the template for today. It’s just metamorphasized. Drake is doing New Jack Swing. Beyoncé is doing New Jack Swing. Rihanna is doing New Jack Swing. Okay, now you bring the snare down, you tune it to the rest of the track – but the same vibrations are still there.”
In recent years, Teddy Riley has worked with DJ Quik and Snoop Dogg as part of the QDT production trio.