Guy is an American hip hop, R&B and soul band, and were the creators of the new jack swing style of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Guy was formed in Harlem, New York in 1987 by R&B singer-songwriters Teddy Riley, Aaron Hall, and Timmy Gatling. Riley and Gatling were childhood friends growing up in Harlem, and previously collaborated in the band Kids At Work. Hall was recruited to join what would become Guy. 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".
Mainstream success and Breakup (1988-1991)
Under the guidance of manager Gene Griffin, the group signed to Andre Harrell's Uptown Records, and released their self-titled debut album Guy in June 1988. Gatling, however, had left after recording of the album was completed and he was replaced by Hall's younger brother Damion Hall. Gatling would later release his solo debut Help in 1989 on Tommy Boy/Warner Bros. Records in 1989 and become a producer, penning and writing 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 the album, none of which fared well on the main US Billboard Hot 100 chart, where only one release charted. However, four of the singles became significant R&B hits. The singles, "'Round And 'Round (Merry-Go-Round of Love), (US R&B #24); "Groove Me", (US R&B #4); "Teddy's Jam", (US R&B #5); "I Like", (US R&B #2); and "Spend the Night", (US R&B #15), propelled the album to double platinum status off the strength of those R&B hits. Another song from the album, "Piece of My Love", also received some airplay on R&B stations. The album impressively climbed to #27 on the US Top 200 Album Chart without a major pop hit, and peaked at #1 on the R&B Album Chart.
Following on the album's success, the band contributed the song "My Fantasy" to the soundtrack to Spike Lee's film Do The Right Thing in 1989. Griffin and Riley 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 Gene Griffin. Riley continued to produce and remix for other artists and firmly established himself as the figurehead and driving force behind New Jack Swing.
In November 1990, Guy released its second album, entitled The Future. Although still not scoring top 40 pop hits, the album's five singles became R&B hits. The songs "Wanna Get Wit U", (US R&B #4); Let's Chill", (US R&B #3); "Do Me Right" (Featuring Heavy D), (US R&B #2); "D-O-G Me Out", (US R&B #8); and "Let's Stay Together", (US R&B #16) took the album to platinum status. The band also featured in Mario Van Peebles's film New Jack City, performing the song "New Jack City".
After the run of the album, the group split with Riley later citing "the tragedy of our ex-manager" Griffin as the reason for the group's disbandment. One of the group's final recordings was their cover of Wilson Pickett's Land of a Thousand Dances, that was featured on the 1992 animated film FernGully: The Last Rainforest. In the 1990s, Riley focused on producing other artists such as Heavy D and Michael Jackson and he also formed another group, Blackstreet. The two Hall brothers each pursued solo careers during the 1990s.
Guy have 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'", which peaked at #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.
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. Still, Riley, who was accused of violently attacking one of his daughters during a pre-Christmas altercation on December 23, 2009, 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.
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.