October 12, 2016

Guy - Guy (1988)

Guy's self-titled album is one of the crown jewels of 80s synth funk and new jack swing. Actually we can probably give some credit to the band for developing the new jack swing style. The group's core is producer/singer Teddy Riley, a producer and beatmaker who, along with Al B. Sure, revolutionized and dominated late 80s and 90s R&B. Even if you haven't heard this album, there is a good chance you've already heard most of the melodies since they've been reused for dozens of hip hop songs. Z-Ro and 2Pac especially have rapped on a good number of these tracks and I'm sure countless East coast hip hop artists borrowed from Teddy's work here as well (I just haven't listened to much East coast stuff recently). Guy's self-titled is certainly a producer's album. Where Devante Swing of Jodeci was subtle with his complexity and depth, Teddy is more aggressive with his beat changes and sample mashups. The singing mostly takes a back seat on the uptempo songs and acts as more of a placeholder for Teddy to go absolutely ham (sometimes I picture Omar Epps in Juice getting the crowd buck at the DJ contest when I hear this, probably because of the Pump Me Up sample Teddy uses). The album doesn't get carried away with dance tracks either; Piece Of My Love and Goodbye Love are cornerstones of 80s R&B ballads.