Teddy Riley is currently in a court battle over rights to BLACKstreet's group name. But he's confident that anybody who hears his current incarnation of the group, with vocalist Dave Hollister, will know who the real BLACKstreet is.
"When we say BLACKstreet it's Dave and Myself, 'cause we're the ones who were the most popular in the group," explains Riley, 45, who's considered the architect of R&B's New Jack Swing style and was part of the group Guy before forming BLACKstreet in 1991. He also boasts production and writing credits for Michael Jackson, Bobby Brown, Usher and many others.
"We're all using the BLACKstreet name until we settle on who will take it, but we make sure people know it's Dave and I, and we put on an incredible show. We're cut from the same cloth; he knows what I'm looking for and what I need, musically, and I know what he needs. And I'm just so happy and honored to be the one to give him his biggest hits."
Hollister was in place for BLACKstreet's 1994 debut album, beginning a platinum run that included hits such as "No Diggity," "Don't Leave Me" and "Before I Let You Go." And even as the Riley and co-founder Chauncey "C. Black" Hannibal duke it out in court, he and Hollister and their current group mates have just about finished a new album they plan to release once the legalities are over, either as BLACKstreet or as BS2.
"I can't wait 'til you hear the new record because that'll put everything to rest (about) who created the sound, who's the architect and who are the contractors," Riley says. "The other group members feel like they created something when it was me who created it. They didn't have the credibility to do anything; they're guys who were pulled off the street and were brought into a situation that was created by me -- but they seem to think they're the ones who actually started it.
"But once everyone hears what we've done, there won't be any confusion, I promise you."
Teddy Riley & BLACKstreet, K'Jon and Elijah Connor perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 11, at SoundBoard in the Motor City Casino Hotel, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $48-$88-$32. Call 800-745-3000 or visit www.soundboarddetroit.com.
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