Full Clip: Teddy Riley Runs Down His Entire Catalogue Ft. Keith Sweat, Guy, Bobby Brown, Michael Jackson, Blackstreet, and Lady Gaga

Music

Truth be told, Teddy Riley’s career was finished. Actually, there were a few sobering moments when the Harlem-bred child prodigy keyboardist turned super producer was viewed as an afterthought amongst music industry tastemakers. First, let’s talk the highs. The 44-year-old creator of the groundbreaking style known as New Jack Swing—a sweat-inducing amalgamation of gospel, R&B, funk and hip-hop—dominated the late ‘80s and ‘90s, orchestrating gold and platinum anthems for such names as Kool Moe Dee, Guy, Keith Sweat, Heavy D, Bobby Brown, and Blackstreet. His era-defining sound represented a cultural touchstone—so much so that the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson, requested Riley’s gifted vision for his gloriously soulful 1991 return-to-form Dangerous. This was the life.

But the lows were just as epic. The volatile break-up of his three-man group Guy; the murders of his brother Brandon as well as the shooting death of his best friend sparked by a touring feud with New Edition; bankruptcy. The hits would dry up for Riley. “But I never let anyone say I was underrated…I never let anyone say I was over,” a defiant Riley states today. “When you go to Twitter and Facebook people still say, ‘My favorite producer is Teddy Riley.’ And that’s only because I fight and I push. That’s what I want people to know.” It’s because of Riley’s pugilistic spirit that he remains a viable force in the music industry over 25 years after he first broke in the biz. It’s why he is equally in-demand by hip-hop royalty (Snoop Dogg) as he is by modern day, censor-igniting pop icons (Lady Gaga).

And his latest stroke of genius? Late last year, Riley turned his attention to the Korean pop market, finding global acclaim as a producer for cutesy K-pop chick clique Girl’s Generation. Riley’s resolve remains unshaken. Perhaps Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am said it best after choosing Riley as his favorite producer of all-time back in 2010 for VIBE’s Best Producer contest. “That’s who I patterned myself after because Teddy is not just a hip-hop producer,” he said in his praise of Riley. “That’s how I try to approach music.” This is Full Clip.—Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)

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