Guy (band)

Guy is an American hip hop, R&B and soul group founded in 1987 by Teddy Riley, Aaron Hall, and Timmy Gatling. Hall's younger brother Damion Hall replaced Gatling after the recording of the group's self-titled debut album. The group released their debut album, which went on to sell over a million copies and was certified double platinum. In following their success, the group dropped their second album "The Future" in 1990, which also charted with successful singles and received platinum as well. Following their nearly decade long split, the group returned with their third album before the 2000s millennium, which charted with their hit single "Dancin'".

OriginNew York City, U.S.
GenresR&B, new jack swing, hip hop soul
Years active1987–1991, 1998–2000, 2005–present
LabelsUptown/MCA (1987–1991)
MCA (1998–2000)
Hall of Fame/Universal (2008–present)
Associated actsHeavy D and the Boyz
Kids at Work
MembersTeddy Riley
Aaron Hall
Damion Hall
Past membersTimmy Gatling

Guy held the credit as the pioneers of the new jack swing genre with their early interactions of their work, which was developed and mainstreamed by group member Teddy Riley himself.



Kids at Work (1984-1986)Edit

Teddy Riley and Timmy Gatling grew both up in the Harlem section of New York City. Both family households of their childhood were musically aspired in the late 70s, such bands as the Gap Band, Earth Wind & Fire and the Jacksons held inspirations to become musicians. As soon they discovered themselves in local live bands for ages around 12 to 20, Gatling and Riley have sought their talents on each other. Teddy was earlier in a band called the "Climates" as a 12-year-old prodigy piano player before their engagement. At the time, a music related businessman Gene Griffin was scouting for young artists and owned a label called Sounds Of New York, which had artists such Indeep known for the “Last Night A D.J. Saved My Life” hit single. Griffin brought onto attention to Teddy Riley and offered a contract to sign, to become the kid group “Kids At Work”. The distribution went through Sony Music Publishing on big hopes and promotions, to compete as an offspring band like New Edition at that time. The band consisted of Teddy Riley playing the keyboard, Timmy Gatling as singing, playing bass and Clurel Henderson as lead singer.[1]

In 1984, they released their self-titled debut album with another Single EP, which had popular local response by radio plays.[2] The group eventually dropped out the label in relation to Griffin’s sudden incarceration and lack of management eventually on the young members of the group. Teddy Riley would go on individually as producer to other projects, such producing “The Show” for Doug E. Fresh that became eventually one of hip hop's known classic in the early days.

Guy (1987-)Edit

After the breakup of their previous band Kids at Work, Timmy Gatling would meet Griffin again in later years. Griffin offered Gatling in regards of business interests a new deal to create a band, which Gatling held in mind.[3] Gatling later used to work in Abraham & Straus in the shoe department.[4] During work, he discovered the talent of his colleague Aaron Hall, who had musical experience by expressing himself in gospel music and sung in choirs at the Bethel Gospel Tabernacle in Jamaica, Queens . Gatling introduced Hall to Teddy Riley, where they decided to set up a group by the name of Guy.[5] The name Guy is based on their fashion statement, which they got from business names of local fashion shops in Harlem.[6] Gene Griffin would become their manager and credited as producer as he introduced them to Uptown Records founder Andre Harrell, who immediately signed the trio.[4] During the recording of their debut album and the settlement of their contract to MCA Records, the members would fall into arguments and personal hardships where Timmy Gatling went not signing the contract and dropped out of the group due to personal reasons.[1] Damion Hall would later join the group by the request of his brother Aaron.[1]

As well as writing songs for their own group, Riley and Hall collaborated on other songwriting and production projects, including Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative" and Johnny Kemp's "Just Got Paid."[3]

Mainstream success and breakup (1988-1991)Edit

Under the guidance of manager Gene Griffin, the trio signed to Andre Harrell's Uptown Records and released Guy in June 1988. Gatling was forced out of the group by Gene Griffin because he refused to sign the management contract giving Gene Griffin full control of their publishing and income. His face was kept on the album because he was officially part of the group and the MCA Records needed his permission to release the album. [7] Gatling released his solo debut, Help, in 1989 on Tommy Boy/Warner Bros. Records[8] and wrote and produced songs such as "Promises, Promises" for Christopher Williams and "When Will I See You Smile Again?" for Bell Biv DeVoe.

Five singles were released from Guy, only one of which, "I Like," charted on the Billboard Hot 100. However, four of the album's singles became significant Billboard R&B chart hits: "Groove Me" (#4), "Teddy's Jam" (#5), "I Like" (#2), and "Spend the Night" (#15) helped propel the album to double platinum status.[3] In addition, "'Round and 'Round (Merry Go 'Round of Love)" reached #24 on the R&B chart, and "Piece of My Love" also received some airplay on R&B stations. Guy reached #1 on the Billboard R&B album chart and, more impressively, climbed to #27 on the Billboard 200 album chart without a major pop hit.

The band contributed the song "My Fantasy" to the soundtrack to Spike Lee's film Do the Right Thing in 1989. Riley and Gene Griffin also worked with Boy George, producing his R&B hit "Don't Take My Mind on a Trip." However, that same year Guy split acrimoniously from Griffin.[9][10] Riley continued to produce and remix for other artists and firmly established himself as the figurehead and driving force behind new jack swing.[11]

In November 1990 Guy released its second album, The Future. Although still not scoring Top 40 pop hits, the album's five singles became R&B hits: "Wanna Get Wit U" (#4); "Let's Chill" (#3); "Do Me Right," featuring Heavy D) (#2); "D-O-G Me Out" (#8); and "Let's Stay Together" (#16) took the album to platinum status. In 1991 Guy made an appearance in Mario Van Peebles's film New Jack City, performing the song of the same name.[12]

After touring behind The Future, the group split up, later citing "the tragedy of our ex-manager," Gene Griffin, as the reason for Guy's disbandment.[9] One of their final recordings during this period was a cover of Wilson Pickett's Land of a Thousand Dances for the 1992 animated film FernGully: The Last Rainforest. Riley then focused on producing other artists, such as Heavy D and Michael Jackson, and formed a new group, Blackstreet. The two Hall brothers each pursued solo careers during the '90s.


Guy has reformed periodically since their initial break-up, the first of which occurred in 1995, with the release of the song "Tell Me What You Like", but an album did not follow at that time.

In 1999, Riley and the Hall brothers reunited to release their first album in nine years titled Guy III. The album featured the modest hit "Dancin'" produced by Eddie F, Darren Lighty and G-Wise, which peaked at No. 19 on the US Hot 100 chart, becoming surprisingly their biggest hit on the pop charts. However, the album was poorly promoted and as quickly as it was released it dropped from the public consciousness. The group disbanded again soon after, but reformed periodically from 2005 onwards, and despite rumours of another album, they have yet to release another.

In 2006 they were part of New Jack Reunion Tour line up, along with BLACKstreet, Tony! Toni! Toné!, After 7, New Edition, and SWV.

Riley and the Hall brothers reunited at the 2009 BET Awards, performing "I Like" as part of a new jack swing medley.[13]

Speaking in March 2010 to noted UK R&B writer Pete Lewis – Deputy Editor of the award-winning Blues & Soul – Riley confirmed he is no longer involved with Guy. He went on to perform with the group again in October 2010. But the reunion was short-lived following claims by other band members that Riley had not properly distributed royalties he had collected on behalf of Guy.[citation needed]

On January 16, 2011, Aaron and Damion performed without Teddy at BET Honors in Washington DC. "Guy brought the audience to its feet with new-jack-swing-era hits Let's Chill and Groove Me." – The Washington Post. The performance at BET Honors became a trending topic on Twitter when it aired on February 21, 2011. The duo appeared again on February 17, 2011 on the TV One Black History Month special "Way Black When." As of 2013, Riley has announced he's returned to Guy and will be working with Guy as well as Blackstreet. Riley's return in 2013 was short and he left once again according to Aaron Hall. In August 2014, Riley announced via his official Instagram that he has reunited with the Hall brothers with a new website and tour coming soon.[14]


Soul Train Music AwardsEdit

Year Award
1989 Best R&B/Urban Contemporary Album of the Year – Group, Band, or Duo - "Guy"
Best R&B/Urban Contemporary Single – Group Band or Duo - "Groove Me"
Best R&B/Urban Contemporary New Artist
1990 Best R&B/Urban Contemporary Single – Group, Band, or Duo - "I Like"




  • Timmy Gatling



Title Details Chart positions Certifications

  • Released: June 13, 1988
  • Label: MCA
27 1
The Future
  • Released: November 13, 1990
  • Label: MCA
16 1 75
  • Released: January 25, 2000
  • Label: MCA
13 5 54 55

Compilation albumsEdit

Title Details
Groove Me: The Very Best of Guy
  • Released: September 10, 2002
  • Label: MCA
The Millennium Collection
  • Released: May 18, 2004
  • Label: Geffen


Year Title Chart positions Album
Hot 100



1988 "'Round and 'Round (Merry-Go-Round of Love)" 24 Guy
"Groove Me" 4 33
"Teddy's Jam" 5 25
1989 "I Like" 70 2 36
"My Fantasy" (Teddy Riley featuring Guy) 62 1 59 81 Do the Right Thing soundtrack
"Spend the Night" 15 Guy
1990 "Wanna Get with U" 50 4 27 28 The Future
1991 "Let's Chill" 41 3
"Do Me Right" (featuring Heavy D) 2 47
"D-O-G Me Out" 8
"Her" 16 58
1992 "Let's Stay Together" 16
1999 "Dancin'" 19 4 III
2000 "Why You Wanna Keep Me from My Baby" 50
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.


  1. ^ a b c "Timmy Gatling 2020 Interview".
  2. ^ "Discogs: Kids At Work".
  3. ^ a b c "Teddy Riley". Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Teddy Riley revisits crafting Guy's debut album | Return To The Classics".
  5. ^ "Teddy Riley New Jack Swing Hip Hop part 1". YouTube. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  6. ^ ""Timmy and I took him to this store named Two Guys. It was here where we found our style for the group. At this store, we found the name for our group also. We took the 's' off of Guys and removed the 'Two' and that's how we came up with the name Guy for our group." Teddy Riley, SoulCulture".
  7. ^ "Timmy Gatling Life after Guy part 3". YouTube. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  8. ^ "Timmy Gatling – Help". Discogs. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
  9. ^ a b "Teddy Riley New Jack Swing Hip Hop part 3". YouTube. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  10. ^ "Gene Griffin". Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  11. ^ "Teddy Riley New Jack Swing Hip Hop part 2". YouTube. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  12. ^ "New Jack City Cast List". Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  13. ^ [1] Archived July 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Teddy Riley's Instagram Page". Instagram. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  15. ^ "Guy Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  16. ^ "Guy Chart History: Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". Billboard. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  17. ^ "Discographie Guy". Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  18. ^ a b Peaks in the Netherlands:
  19. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 238. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  20. ^ a b "American certifications – Guy". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  21. ^ "Guy Chart History: Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  22. ^ "Guy Chart History: Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  23. ^ "Guy Chart History: Dance Club Songs". Billboard. Retrieved June 10, 2020.