Teddy Riley talks being influenced by hip-hop + his contributions to the genre

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Teddy Riley may be known for R&B hits, but unbeknownst to some, he actually got his start in hip-hop. He produced songs for Doug E. Fresh, Heavy DWreckx-n-EffectBig Daddy Kane and more, years before fusing hip-hop with R&B to make his New Jack Swing sound.

“Hip-hop is a big influence on me because that’s the first genre that I did,” Teddy tells ABC Audio, naming Grandmaster FlashGrand Wizzard TheodoreCrash Crew and Treacherous Three as some of his inspirations. He was around the genre when he lent support to artists in the studio and was introduced to producers by his mentor, Royal Bayyan, the former guitarist for Kool & The Gang.

Teddy says he was the first to have so many records go “number one as remixes,” but as he reflects on the 50th anniversary of the genre, he feels he’s “never been respected as a hip-hop producer.”

“I made some of the biggest hip-hop records and they’re still classics today. And you got people who made some of the biggest hip-hop records that don’t even play today,” Teddy says. Noting Big Daddy Kane and Doug E. Fresh are still touring with songs he produced, he adds, “I need somebody to put some respect on my name.”

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