They Reminisce Over You Podcast

Teddy Riley cover art for episode 70 of the They Reminisce Over You Podcast

Jun 7, 2024

Episode 70 - Teddy Riley: Teddy's Jam

Episode Summary

On this episode, we’re talking about a producer, songwriter, sometime singer and rapper. He’s done songs for Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick, Heavy D, Kool Moe Dee, Big Daddy Kane, Keith Sweat, Al B. Sure!, Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson and more. He's done albums for himself as a member of Guy & Blackstreet, and he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame June 15, 2023. He's the King of New Jack Swing, Teddy Riley. His resume is so long that we had to break this up over two episodes. On this one, we're only getting into the production side of his career, so Guy & Blackstreet talk is at a minimum. For his career as a performer, you'll have to wait a couple of weeks for part 2 to drop.


Christina: Welcome back to They Reminisce Over You. I'm Christina.

Miguel: And I'm Miguel. On this episode, we're talking about a producer, songwriter, singer, part-time rapper. He's done songs for Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick, Heavy D, Kool Moe Dee, Big Daddy Kane, Keith Sweat, Bobby Brown, Al B. Sure!, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, as well as for himself in a couple of groups called Guy and Blackstreet, the King of New Jack Swing, Edward Theodore Riley, AKA Teddy Riley.

So before anybody gets upset and says, how come y'all didn't talk about Guy? How come you didn't talk about Blackstreet?

Christina: Or Wreckx-n-Effect.

Miguel: Or Wreckx-n-Effect. Teddy has so much work that we have to break this up into two episodes. So for this first episode, we're only talking about his productions. And in the second episode, which you’re gonna have to come back for, we're talking about his actual work as a performer.

Christina: Yes. And even though we're breaking up into two parts, I mean, we can still really only scratch the surface.

Miguel: Yeah. We're just getting a little bit of this.

Christina: There's like, a whole podcast just about this.

Miguel: Yeah. So we don't have the time to dedicate 18 episodes to Teddy Riley. So we're gonna try and squeeze it into two.

Christina: Yeah. And we'll give you enough to, you know, go more into it if you want.

Miguel: Exactly. So you want to just get started?

Christina: Let's do it.

Miguel: All right. So what exactly is New Jack Swing?

Christina: Well, first of all, there was a sound bubbling before the actual term New Jack Swing was coined, which is by writer Barry Michael Cooper. He also wrote New Jack City, Above the Rim and Sugar Hill. But in 1987, he wrote a profile[1] about a, at the time, young and emerging Teddy Riley.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: So in that profile was where he came up with that specific term New Jack Swing to describe Teddy's sound, which is why he's often credited as the godfather of New Jack Swing. There was some sounds before that. LA Reid and Babyface were doing some stuff with Whitney Houston, for example, “I’m Your Baby Tonight.” There was also Janet Jackson's Control album with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, with that fusion of like R&B and hip hop. However, we are here to talk about Teddy Riley.

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: And he is synonymous with New Jack Swing because that term specifically was coined with him.

Miguel: Yes. And just like LL is the GOAT and I will fight anybody on that, Teddy is the King of New Jack Swing. Not saying that other people didn't do New Jack Swing, but they weren't called the King of New Jack Swing.

Christina: Right. That term is specifically for Teddy.

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: Even if other people were able to make similar sounds.

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: So with that in mind, how would you describe New Jack Swing?

Miguel: Basically, New Jack Swing to me is any song that makes a crowd say, “go, go, go, go,” and have you bopping around like Rosie Perez at the beginning of Do the Right Thing.[2]

Christina: A lot of dancing. Yes. I have tried your theory when I listened to a bunch of songs. You can throw a “go, go, go” to a lot of these songs. And a lot of these songs actually already have it in there.

Miguel: They do. But you could just sprinkle in a “go, go, go, go.” That lets you know it's New Jack Swing.

Christina: Pretty much. I think also if you're comparing a New Jack Swing Teddy track to a non-Teddy track, I feel like he also added, so there's, the common theme is the danceability, as you said. But there's also sort of almost like a pop feel, which gave it more of a commercial appeal, cause there was a lot of synthesizers and the keyboards, which was a lot of like, the eighties pop sounds. But then Teddy would use a lot of like, funk elements. And I think that's what kept it from sounding like, overly commercial. And then he had, of course, the hip hop sounds, the beats and the bass and the drums were harder and stuff. So I think that Teddy's New Jack Swing was a little bit edgier and a little bit funkier than a lot of the other producers.

Miguel: Yeah. And that's because of his hip hop background. For those who don't know, one of Teddy's first productions was “The Show” by Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh. He did that. He did some songs for Kool Moe Dee, “Go See the Doctor” and things from that album. So he was involved heavily in the hip hop end of it after his previous attempt with a group that he had with Timmy Gatling, who would start Guy with him. And another friend of theirs is called Kids at Work.

Christina: That name just, Kids at Work.

Miguel: They put the album out, it did nothing. And he decided, you know what? I'm just going to be a hit man for hire basically.

Christina: And specifically for like, hip hop, he was like, I don't want to do this R&B stuff.

Miguel: He's like, I'm done with the R&B. This hip hop is putting a couple hundred bucks in my pocket every time I make one of these tracks. I'm sticking with that.

Christina: Yeah, I'm one of those people. I didn't know that because I didn't know who he was until later, after all his early work with hip hop artists. So I was actually really surprised when I found out because I had always associated him with R&B mostly.

Miguel: Yeah, I knew of it because of his work at Uptown. He was doing a lot of tracks for Uptown artists, Al B. Sure!, Heavy D. So I knew him from that, but I didn't realize that he did “The Show” until a couple of years ago.

Christina: Yeah, like, that's surprising.

Miguel: That one threw me off. I didn't know that he was responsible for one of the biggest hip hop songs of all time.

Christina: And that he was basically a teenager.

Miguel: Yeah, he was like, 17 when he made it.

Christina: Yeah, I definitely did not know that.

Miguel: Yeah, so his man, Keith Sweat, he was in a band that was competing with Teddy's band and Johnny Kemp's band, it’s basically the R&B groups of New York. And one day he decided, I need some of those hip hop beats that you’re giving these guys for me to sing over, going to Teddy, saying this to him. And Teddy like, nah, I still don't want to do it. I don't do this hard bottom, R&B shit no more. But Keith was able to convince him to start working on his album with him. And that created what we now know as the New Jack Swing sound, even though we just explained that it didn't create it. But it's Teddy's version of what we now know as New Jack Swing.

Christina: And not only Teddy's version, but basically this subculture that he created because there was the music, but there was also the clothes, the dancing. Like, there was a whole culture around it. Like, it bridged the gap between the older style of R&B, the we don't play rap, we got to take the rap verses out of the songs, the smooth sounds of Peabo Bryson and Anita Baker and Freddie Jackson. Like, your mama's R&B to our R&B. Because it fused what was a young person sound at the time. It was all the rap and hip hop.

Miguel: Right. And mentioning the culture around it, it's basically Harlem because that's where Johnny Kemp and Keith Sweat, Kool Moe Dee, Teddy, they're all from Harlem.

Christina: Well, Uptown.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Andre Harrell, he named his label Uptown, which is Harlem.

Miguel: Yeah. So the sound of New Jack Swing was the sound of Harlem, the look of Harlem, the feel of Harlem, and that's what they were giving us.

Christina: So we're going to start with the period between 1985 and 1995, which is basically what we just covered with his early hip hop work. And whether it's with Keith Sweat or some of the other artists we just mentioned, what were some of your favorite songs during this era, the early phase one part of New Jack Swing?

Miguel: My favorites from this time period are like, the songs he did with Big Daddy Kane. I was a huge Big Daddy Kane fan, so “I Get the Job Done” was something that I liked. It's something that you can just get up and sweat out your rayon shirts to. This was heavy into junior high dances era. So Big Daddy Kane was one of them. You want to get it slowed down in mid tempo. You get some Al B. Sure!, “If I'm Not Your Lover.” What else was another good one? Kool Moe Dee, “I Go to Work,” the stuff that we mentioned in our last episode with Heavy D. So a lot of the stuff there, “Moneyearnin’ Mount Vernon,” “We Got Our Own Thang.” So all of that stuff was the things that I was into.

Christina: It's interesting that the New Jack Swing sound made rap more friendly, but then made R&B more gritty. It's like that bridge in between. And not only did he do a lot of rap and R&B, he worked on Michael Jackson's Dangerous album. "In the Closet," that song is perfection. One of the things about Teddy's production is there's always so much going on. There's all sorts of different sounds. "In the Closet," I think is such a great example of that, because whenever Michael says, “Keep it in the closet,” there's like, a door slam sound. There's like, breaking glass. The music starts and it stops. It slows down. It speeds up. You got some woman talking in the background.

Miguel: That is Naomi Campbell.

Christina: That was, I thought she was just in the video. I thought it was somebody else.

Miguel: I thought she was speaking on the record as well. I could be wrong. I always thought that was Naomi Campbell.

Christina: Yeah, I think she was, well, she definitely was in the video.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: I think it was somebody else's voice. We'll have to fact check.[3] But I think you were telling me how he was talking about like, doing a buildup.

Miguel: Yeah, he calls it escalation.

Christina: Yes, escalation.

Miguel: Where the song starts all slow and mellow and then it builds up.

Christina: Yes.

Miguel: And you can see that in a lot of the Michael Jackson songs that they did together.

Christina: And this is one of the examples because it starts kind of all nice and sweet and then it builds up and then goes into this big dance break at the end and Michael's the king of the ad libs. And you can also hear it in "Remember the Time" because he's literally shouting at the end. “In the park, out the dark, do you? Do you remember?”

Miguel: And at the beginning of the song, it's, “do you remember?” He's basically whispering and by the end of it, he's just on the floor, kicking his feet and legs like a cockroach on its back.

Christina: Yeah, so I do love "Remember the Time", but I do love “In the Closet” more. There's something about that song. It's just like, perfect. And it's interesting that MJ is like, the King of Pop, but he also had the most popular New Jack Swing album, basically.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So that one's great and of course, “Make It Last Forever” with Keith Sweat featuring Jacci McGee. You know, people have their thoughts about Keith Sweat's nasally voice and I don't know, it works for me. Somehow it just, yeah, I don't know. It's like, the voice mixed with Teddy's production, it’s like—

Miguel: It's perfect. It’s peanut butter and jelly.

Christina: It's perfect. Like, it wraps around the beats. It feels like a warm hug. And I don't know, it just, I love that song. That's probably my favorite Keith Sweat song. And you mentioned Heavy D. Of course, I got to mention “Is It Good To You,” again, featuring Tammy Lucas.

Miguel: Yes, the unsung Tammy Lucas.

Christina: Yeah. And even though we talk a lot about New Jack Swing being like very danceable, there's a lot of like, mid-tempo and slower songs that he did as well that were really good. Like Hi-Five’s “I Like the Way (The Kissing Game),” did a remix for Mary J. Blige's “My Love.”

Miguel: Of course you love that one.

Christina: Of course I love that one. So you can get slow mid-tempo to up-tempo and he could do it all.

Miguel: Yeah. And we can't forget about Mr. Bobby Brown.

Christina: Of course not.

Miguel: He did “My Prerogative” from the Don't Be Cruel album, even though the credits say otherwise, but that's a whole ‘nother story about Teddy and his production credits getting screwed over, but he actually did produce this record.

Christina: He did. And Bobby said, “right Ted?” in the song.

Miguel: Yes. He didn't say “right Gene?”

Christina: He didn't say “right Gene?” He said “right Ted?”

Miguel: So between that and the Bobby album, there's so many songs on that Bobby album that I can't even get into them, but “Humpin’ Around” and “Get Away” are two of my favorites as well. I can listen to “Get Away” all the time. That's like peak Bobby for me.

Christina: Same. I know that the Don't Be Cruel album is the one that a lot of people hold up, but I actually prefer the Bobby album.

Miguel: Me too.

Christina: I don't know this because I mostly like more of the early 90s stuff to the late 80s stuff, but I just love it. And the visuals, we keep saying, the dancing. Bobby and dancing, like, in those days, chef’s kiss. He's better than all of his dancers. And like, his dancers are there to dance and he's singing and dancing and he's better than all of them.

Miguel: Exactly. I saw a quote from the rapper Kwame and he said “During this time, if the record label wanted you to go radio, mainstream or crossover, they tried to pressure you into doing a New Jack Swing record. If you had a big enough budget, they would definitely try to push artists to push some of that budget onto Teddy Riley. And you figure you get the one Teddy Riley single, you're gonna go mainstream.” And that's from Kwame and that is basically what happened. If people weren't hiring Teddy to either produce or remix their songs, they were doing Teddy type of music.

Christina: I mean, this pretty much goes into what we wanted to discuss next was how New Jack Swing just took over even with non-Teddy produced tracks. So as I kind of mentioned at the beginning, the term itself is Teddy Riley, but other people were making similar sounds and stuff. Notably Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and L.A. Reid and Babyface were doing a lot. But there were other producers and stuff as well. What do you think about, I've seen some discussions about Control being the first New Jack Swing record. So that was like, 1986, I think?

Miguel: Yes, I could see that being a possibility. But the difference with Control and what Teddy was doing is the samples. Like, he used a lot of vocal samples versus just a lot of instrumental samples like Jam and Lewis were using. That's the difference I see between that stuff and the later stuff. Something I will say that is really similar to what Teddy did is the stuff that Full Force was doing. They were pretty much hand in hand with Teddy in terms of the type of production. He was just better at it. And Full Force has some records that I like. They produced some songs that I like. I'm not gonna say “Naughty Girls Need Love Too” by Samantha Fox is one of them.

Christina: [Singing] “Naughty girls need love too.”

Miguel: Exactly. But they did have a lot of records that sounded a little bit like Teddy, but they weren't as melodic because Teddy's a keyboard player. So his chords and melodies added a little something that other people weren't doing to their records.

Christina: Well, I think that the way New Jack Swing took over music at the time, that sound, it really opened the doors for Bell Biv Devoe to shine outside of New Edition. Because they were always the supporting characters in New Edition, but the fact that they already knew how to be pop from being in New Edition. And the whole thing about New Jack Swing is it fuses hip-hop and R&B, and they already did the little light raps.

Miguel: Yeah, and it gave-

Christina: And some singing.

Miguel: It gave Ronnie and Mike something to do, because we're not coming to them for vocals.

Christina: Yeah, and so their style of rap works for the New Jack Swing sound, because we're not expecting the spherical, lyrical, miracle sort of type rappers, when that's not what we want to hear in New Jack Swing.

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: So it was actually the perfect space for them. They got to shine way bigger than when they were in New Edition. But New Jack Swing even forced Johnny's non-dancing ass to get into rehearsal, because he was sweating his ass off in “Rub You the Right Way.”

Miguel: You got this balladeer over here, like, bouncing around and jumping off gates and.

Christina: Yeah, like, Johnny himself said, he's not a dancer, but he was dancing his ass off in “Rub You the Right Way.”

Miguel: So what were some of your favorite songs from that New Jack Swing era, ’85 to ’95, that weren't done by Teddy?

Christina: Well, Bobby again. So even like, the non-Teddy Bobby tracks are great. Like, Bobby and the New Jack Swing sound just works. So “Every Little Step,” and I actually like this song better than “My Prerogative,” but when you listen to a Teddy track versus a non-Teddy track back to back, you can hear the difference. So even though I prefer “Every Little Step,” “My Prerogative,” it's more funky. There's a less polished sound, not amateurish, but the production just got like, a little more stank on it than when like, Babyface is just so perfect. Babyface is perfect and pretty, even when he's doing New Jack Swing.

So I definitely still like “Every Little Step” better than “My Prerogative,” but you can definitely hear a difference. So that's one. I love “You Called and Told Me” by Jeff Redd. I love that song. It was on the Strictly Business soundtrack, and I think that's an example of how New Jack Swing was also a cultural movement. It wasn't just the songs.

Miguel: It was the movies.

Christina: It was the movies. There's the scene with Halle Berry dancing in the club.

Miguel: “Go Natalie.”[4]

Christina: Yeah, Go Natalie and then the square in the movie is watching her like... It's a whole bunch of Janet songs from the Rhythm Nation album. “Miss You Much,” “Alright,” “Escapade,” “Love Will Never Do (Without You),” which I think is also one of my favorite Janet songs. I have so many. There's Christopher Williams, which I always think is hilarious cause he looks like Al B. Sure!, but their voices are at the opposite end of the spectrum. So like, “I’m Dreaming” and Every Little Thing U Do,” I love those songs.

Miguel: Vocally, they couldn't be more different.

Christina: And we found out that they are actually related somehow, right? Yeah, cause I'm like, it's not just about them both being light skinned, like, they look alike. Father MCs “I’ll Do For You” always made me laugh because the video is exactly “My Prerogative” with the girls, and the keytar and the concert scene, but he does have a young Mary J. Blige.

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: With her bangs and her little ponytail.

Miguel: That tiny ponytail holding on for dear life.

Christina: She’s singing background. And one more I wanted to just pull out of my hat, which I completely forgot until I saw it in a related section on YouTube. Before Joe became your favorite…

Miguel: Dirty Mack.

Christina: Dirty Mack. He tried to do some New Jack Swing. I actually really like this 1993, New Jack Swing era of Joe. The song “I’m In Luv.” If you've never heard it, go watch the video. Check it out. We'll be making a playlist for sure as well.

Miguel: It's going to be a three day playlist.[5]

Christina: But I can't remember how we were just talking about it one day or something. And then it came up. I was like, what? Joe used to dance in combat boots and colorful jeans.

Miguel: And a vest with no shirt.

Christina: A vest with no shirt on. You got girls doing the butterfly in the video. I was like, what? Joe did this kind of music?

Miguel: Flat top Joe is a completely different artist—

Christina: Than bald head Joe.

Miguel: than fade and bald head Joe. Two different dudes.

Christina: “I’m in Luv.” I love that song. All right, so I gave you like, a whole bunch. What do you have?

Miguel: I have a few as well. You know how I feel about Tony, Toni, Toné. So I'm gonna throw “Feels Good” out there.

Christina: Of course.

Miguel: Even though it has Mopreme Shakur doing a horrible rap. “Mocedes, the mellow…”

Christina: “Quite the nice fellow.”

Miguel: So that's another one that I like. “Rollin’ with Kid N’ Play.” That's a fave. You get to do your Kid N’ Play kick step. And jump over your leg and all that good shit. I mentioned Full Force earlier. So from the House Party soundtrack, “Ain't My Type of Hype.” That's another song that I like. It makes you just wanna get up and have your rayon shirt stuck to your chest because you're so hot and sweaty. Boys II Men, “Motownphilly.”

Christina: Of course.

Miguel: Da-da. And one I'm just gonna throw in there just because I know these dudes and I went to school with them. So this is more nostalgic than anything, but this song was a jam too though. The Boys “Dial My Heart.” So I'm gonna add that as my list.

Christina: A little hometown love.

Miguel: Yeah, a little solidarity with my classmate. So that's gonna be my list. Check out our playlist that we're gonna put together for this and you'll see more of the songs that we like.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Because there's so much, it's a pretty much a 10 year run where New Jack Swing was on top of the chart. So this is gonna be a long ass playlist.

Christina: And like I said, we're not gonna talk about this until part two. We're not even gonna go over Guy and Blackstreet.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Just those two groups alone, there's a lot to talk about.

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: And technically he wasn't part of Wreckx-N-Effect, but he kind of was. So we're gonna save that for part two as well. But “Rump Shaker” was also just, I'm gonna mention that right now, “Rump Shaker” was huge.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So that was, I think like, ’92. Something like that?

Miguel: Yeah, ’92, ’93. But since we are gonna mention it, “Groove Me” by Guy, “Let's Chill,” “Teddy’s Jam,” all that stuff, there, we mentioned Guy.

Christina: I'm saving that for part two.

Miguel: Yes, we did not forget about all of that stuff either.

Christina: That's part two.

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: So this is all non-Guy, non-Blackstreet, non-Wreckx-N-Effect discussion.

Miguel: Exactly. So after ’95 is when music started to kind of transition into even a more harder hip hop influence edge, at least the R&B music. But he still made some pretty good tracks, in my opinion. His output wasn't the same as it was in that early 10 year period, but he still had a couple bangers here and there, mostly on the hip hop side though. But he did a couple R&B ones as well. What were some of those that you liked?

Christina: Well, before I get into that, I just want to mention, I was reading one of these articles talking about how the transition was starting to move away around this time. And I think it makes sense. They said that Jodeci and Mary J. Blige was that bridge between the sound sticking around a little bit, but also then moving on to a more hip hop soul sound.

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: And I'm like, that makes sense because as we know, Jodeci had tried to do a couple of new jack swing tracks.

Miguel: And we mentioned that in the episode we did about them.

Christina: I like some of them, but it wasn't their strong suit. And as we know, Mary J is the queen of hip hop soul. So this marked a move away from that. But as you were saying, he still had some jams and he's still booked and busy. So some of the R&B songs that I liked was, he did the “I Get Lonely” remix with Janet, featuring Blackstreet and even though we said we weren’t gonna talk about Blackstreet, hey, it's kind of hard not to.

Miguel: But it's a Janet record.

Christina: Yeah, it's a Janet record. And I actually just found a remix he did for Montell Jordan's “Fallin,” which I really like. It's not on streaming services, but I found it on YouTube. And I really like that one. And of course, he was still working with Michael, “Heaven Can Wait.”

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: I love that song. And like, typical Michael Jackson romantic, like “Heaven Can Wait.” “Tell ‘em no!” And then he did the “Get Me Home” for Foxy Brown with also Blackstreet as well. But that was a jam.

Miguel: Those are the same songs that I picked.

Christina: All four?

Miguel: Not all four, but three of them. So “I Get Lonely,” “Get Me Home,” “Heaven Can Wait,” but also from that Invincible album, he did “Whatever Happens” with Carlos Santana. That's another one of my favorite Michael Jackson songs as well.

Christina: I don't think I'm familiar with that. At least not based on the title. I'll have to look it up.

Miguel: I just heard it in my head at the very end. Michael goes, “Thank you, Carlos.” He's like, no, thank you. “Thank you, Michael.” But another one is “City Is Mine” by Jay-Z.

Christina: What? I thought you didn't like that. Where did I get the idea that you didn't like this one?

Miguel: I don't know. I can't tell you.

Christina: OK, I don't know.

Miguel: Also, the “Go Deep” remix he did for Janet. That's another one that I liked. “Party Ain't a Party” by Queen Pen. So there were a few songs that he was able to get off during this era that I liked as well. Like I said, the output wasn't as large as those first couple of years, but he was still putting things out that were really good.

Christina: And he was doing a lot of unexpected collaborations, should I say. That's one way to put it in the early era up into this era, too, because when I was looking through his discogs, so on, if you really want to go into it, I think there's over 700 production credits. So I was just skimming through the list and I'm like, he did a New Jack Swing remix for Hanson. “MmmBop” in 1997.

Miguel: I don't know who asked for this, but it was there.

Christina: It was really random, I think. I mean, even though he did stuff with like, Boy George, Jane Child, which is Boy George, actually, I mean, Boy George has some soul. So it's not as surprising, but it is at the same time because it's like, New Jack Swing, though.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: And then Jane Child is also kind of surprising because she's like, this Canadian singer who looks like she's into punk because she's got like these these long braids down to her ankles. But these are not I like hip hop braids. These are like, punk braids because the top is spiky and crimpy. She's got like, this nose ring chain and stuff. And she specifically wanted Teddy Riley to do her remix for “I Don't Want to Fall in Love.” Like, I did not even know he did all this stuff.

Miguel: Yeah, there's a lot of there was a Rolling Stones remix as well.

Christina: And Tom Jones?

Miguel: Tom Jones, he did a couple songs on his album.

Christina: Yeah. So there is just a lot of stuff that I'd never heard of and was just unexpected. But I guess maybe not if people were asking for him.

Miguel: Teddy was everywhere during that time.

Christina: ‘Cause I didn't even know that he did the Dangerous album because it came out in ’91. And I wasn’t, I'm sure I didn't even know who Teddy Riley was at the time. But now listening to the album, I'm like, OK, this is obvious Teddy Riley work here. I always thought of him as like an R&B hip hop guy. So I didn't know that he did all of this, this like, other genre work.

Miguel: And about the Dangerous album, I knew it was a good album. And I've told you this before, I didn't realize how good it was until the night that Michael Jackson died. Because I was living at Vegas at the time. And it was a Thursday night. I remember this specifically because it was industry night at Tao and we would go on Thursday nights. So, of course—

Christina: What’s industry night?

Miguel: Industry night is basically people who work in the hospitality industry, restaurants, bars, hotels…because we're working, we really don't get time to go see other clubs and other bars because we're working.

Christina: So you get to be the tourist for the night.

Miguel: Right. So what they would do, and I'm sure they do this in other cities as well, but they would section off a night at different nightclubs and it would be different nights throughout the week at different places as well, where if you're off on a Thursday night, you go to Tao because you're getting free cover charge and you're skipping the line. So this happened to be an industry night. So it's packed anyway. And they're just going through all of these Michael Jackson hits. I don't remember who the DJ was. I think it might have been DJ Franzen or whatever. But he's just running through the hits. And because I wasn't old enough to be in the clubs when Dangerous was out, I was in high school. This was my first time hearing those songs in a club environment. And they were banging, just pounding you, you could literally feel "In the Closet" hitting you in the chest when it was coming on.

Christina: When those door slams?

Miguel: Yeah, just boop, boop, boom, just hitting you in the chest. So all of the songs from that album were just amazing to hear in that environment and completely changed the way I felt about it.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: Because like I said, it was cool. I liked it until I was able to feel Teddy's drums hit me in the back when “Jam” came on or what's the other?

Christina: Can't let her get away.

Miguel: “Can’t Let Her Get Away.” Like, those come on and we just in the club bopping to it. Like, this shit is amazing. So let's talk about like, the Teddy Riley family tree or whatever. That's a good way to put it. So even though he wasn't hands on with a lot of these people, he allowed them the space to come and work out of his studio when they were young. So Chad and Pharrell of the Neptunes went to high school right across the street from his studio. So they would come over and do some work. And you hear Pharrell's pen, writing Teddy's verse on “Rump Shaker,” for example.

Timbaland and Magoo, I saw an interview with Magoo that said that they used to come through and work in there as well and hang out. Also, Rodney Jerkins was an intern there when he was in high school. So like, every summer, he would come from wherever he lived to Virginia just to intern at Teddy's studio. Because he had a real open door policy like that, where if you were willing to work, you had some talent, come on down. And if you listen to their productions, you can kind of see traces of Teddy in all three of them, but in a different way. Like, they all have elements of New Jack Swing style production in everything that they've done. At least their early stuff, as they've gotten older and music has changed since the early 90s. They all have the DNA of Teddy Riley in their music.

Christina: Definitely the danceability part.

Miguel: Yeah, the danceability, the offbeat kind of samples and drum patterns. Like, the first time we heard a Neptune's beat, it's like, this is weird, but I like it.

Christina: And it has that like, like I was saying with Teddy, there's a lot going on at the same time.

Miguel: Yeah. And the same with Timbaland and Rodney Jerkins as well. It's a lot going on. I saw— just thinking about it makes me laugh. I saw someone say that Rodney Jerkins production sound like a transformer opening up.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: I was like, you know what?

Christina: I have to think about that.

Miguel: I can see it.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: But—

Christina: I’m thinking, I'm running a song through my head.

Miguel: For example, what's the name of the Brandy song?

Christina: I’m thinking of Brandy's Full Moon.

Miguel: No, there's another Brandy song. “What About Us?”

Christina: Yeah. I can see that too.

Miguel: It sounds like a transformer transforming.

Christina: Yeah, I can, now that I'm running it through my mind, I can I can see how that works.

Miguel: So, like I said, you can just hear elements of their or his style in them. And we know that music is a copycat genre. So once they started to blow up, you got other people sounding like them the same way they were trying to sound like Teddy 10, 15 years earlier. That's all.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: I just wanted to point out the connection between him and other big name producers that we know.

Christina: Yeah. So even as New Jack Swing was sort of petering out the legacy and the influence lives on.

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: And I mean, that's a natural progression. Like, music just changes. So it's not like, he's washed up or something like, it just like the times change. Although we did have Bruno Mars's 24K Magic album that was like, I'm going to resurrect this.

Miguel: Exactly. Like, so he's still influencing current day artists as well.

Christina: Yeah. Because "24K Magic,” the single, they had the little talk box, which, you know, Teddy Riley loved to do. That early dancing ’til you sweat through your clothes energy. Like the early 90s, we danced real hard.

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: Later in the 90s, we didn't dance as hard. We still danced, but we didn't need the knee pads and or an extra change of clothes. And then he had in the song “Chunky,” he had that Tammy Lucas-like voice singing the hook. So this to me felt like an ode to New Jack Swing and like early 90s music.

Miguel: Yeah, but with a more modern twist, because he wasn't there, so he can't make—

Christina: This is his version.

Miguel: a 90s album, he can only approximate it from what he's listened to, but you can't recreate that.

Christina: Yeah, so I know that this album, I think, did really well, but I think there were some people that felt it was appropriated. But as an old head, I appreciated it.

Miguel: Yeah, I didn't have beef with it.

Christina: I listened to it a lot when it first came out. I can't say I've listened to it much recently, but I liked it. And I think it kind of shows that the sound can still live on.

Miguel: Right. I think we pretty much nailed everything in terms of the production career of Teddy Riley. We talked about the music that he's done for others. We talked about his influence on other producers and tracks that were out around the time that he was doing his thing.

Christina: The culture that it created.

Miguel: The culture with the music, movies, clothes, TV shows, all of that. I think it's time that we wrap this up and then—

Christina: Prepare for part two.

Miguel: Prepare for part two, where we talk specifically about him.

Christina: Yeah. As a performer.

Miguel: And the music and the albums that he put out. So is there anything you want to say before we wrap this all up?

Christina: Watch the "Remember the Time" video. I rewatched that yesterday because it's been a long time and it's quite the production. This was the days of, remember we had to wait for the world premiere? It would come on like at night prime time and just rewatching the video and all the theatrics is hilarious. And of course, the dancing.

Miguel: Yes. I'm going to save mine for the next episode. So everybody who's listening to this is going to have to come back and listen to the part two of this.

Christina: All right.

Miguel: In a couple of weeks. So thank you again for listening to They Reminisce Over You. We try to do this every two weeks where we get in here and reminisce over some of our favorite moments, albums, TV shows, movies, all of that good stuff. We also have a newsletter called Liner Notes. So if you would like to get that in your inbox once a month, go ahead and sign up at our website, We also have a store. So if you would like to buy some merch, we have some TROY Podcast merch as well as other pop culture merch. So if you want to get some of that, go to Nuthin’ but a Tee Thang is our store. So go get yourself a hat, T-shirt, mugs, all that good stuff. That's pretty much it. So we'll be seeing you in two weeks to talk about more Teddy Riley.