Teddy Riley is known as a legendary producer who has staked his claim on a number of chart-topping hits. People might not be aware that Riley was also a member of the R&B group Guy, and experienced considerable success. Riley, Aaron Hall, and Damian Hall (following the exit of Timmy Gatling) released two platinum albums for Uptown/MCA Records. They were the originators of New Jack Swing, and released a succession of hits like “I Like,” “Groove Me,” and “Let’s Chill.”
However, a deadly rivalry led the inventor of New Jack Swing to leave the group.
On the March 21 episode of TV One’s “Uncensored,” Riley recounted the sad incident that he said resulted from bad blood between Guy’s and industry peers New Edition’s, road crews.
“My big homie Anthony Bee, he got shot. It was a beef between New Edition camp and Guy’s camp,” said Riley in a clip.
The tumult transpired over the course of two days in July 1989. Guy and New Edition were two acts performing as a part of the Budweiser Superfest tour. Tensions rose during a performance in Greensboro, North Carolina, when Guy stayed too long onstage. Upset members of New Edition boldly came onstage while Guy was still performing.
The audience initially cheered, believing that the two groups were doing a joint performance. A fight broke out instead, causing the show to be suspended for an hour.
Superfest landed in Pittsburgh the next day, and a group of men, called the “Hit Squad” by police, reportedly were flown in from New York by Guy’s manager Gene Griffin, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
It was reported that “seven to 12 identically clad men employed by Guy made their way into the Pittsburgh Civic Arena and viciously attacked two New Edition crew members who were onstage setting up equipment while they were performing.” Police recovered seven broken baseball bats, but apparently the bats had not been used in the incident. Pittsburgh police say the bats were, however, purchased by Guy employees at a sporting goods store specifically for use during a planned fight, but the bats were accidentally crushed underneath a truck.
As the participants beat each other with microphone stands, New Edition production manager Ronald Byrd located a gun during the fight, and, according to police reports, “chased Guy security manager Anthony Bee out of the arena and across the street, where he then shot Bee twice, as Bee was trying to make his way to safety inside a nearby hotel.” Bee died soon afterward.
Despite the altercation in Greensboro, Riley maintained that the source of the violence did not come from the two groups, who he said “remained friends.”
“Remember when the New Edition/Guy altercation [happened]? A lot of people don’t know that it really wasn’t the principals: New Edition, Guy,” Riley said on an episode of Ed Lover’s C’mon Son Podcast. “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].”
New Edition and Guy were summarily dropped from the tour, and Riley was forced to reevaluate his life and career by the sudden tragedy that struck his life.
“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],” he told Lover. “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].”
“The reason why I quit the group was that I lost my best friend and I couldn’t take the pressure,” he revealed on “Uncensored.”
At the final date of Guy’s “Future Tour,” he told a crowd at New York City’s Madison Square Garden that he was leaving the group, according to Riley. After the show was over, he said he went right to his car service to travel to Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch a day later. Riley would go on to co-produce a substantial amount of “Dangerous,” which would cement his legacy as an icon.