Poor Teddy Riley: The title of this writing sounds harsh... or like I am taking shots at Mr. Riley, but I am not. It is quite the opposite actually... see, I know duke. I have been to Teddy Riley's house, I have been in his studio, I have been on his extravagant tour bus, and heck, I have even talked to his daughter, Deja.
Before I jump headfirst into this literature, let me bring you up to speed on the Teddy drama, in case you have not already heard. Headlines and online news sources everywhere have been running rampant with information that Teddy Riley is in a sea of serious financial trouble, drowning in a mounting debt of over a million dollars. It has been reported that Teddy is being forced to sell his famed recording spot in Virginia, Future Records Recording Studio, to pay off aggressive creditors. (This historical studio is the birthplace for the game's biggest producers, such as Timbaland, The Neptunes and Rodney Jerkins.)
Sources are claiming:
• In 2002 Teddy Riley filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
• In 2004, the IRS filed a $1 million lien against Teddy Riley for unpaid income taxes.
• In 2005, Teddy Riley borrowed $700,000 against the studio from lender, Equitable Relocation Services Inc. Teddy Riley defaulted on that loan and the lender won a $700,000 judgment against him in 2006.
• In 2006 Teddy Riley was forced to sell his house in the Church Point/Virginia Beach area for $1.5 million to pay off federal and city taxes, as well as the home's mortgage.
• In 2007, the IRS filed a second tax lien against Teddy Riley for $196,747.
• Last month the state filed a $93,684 income tax lien against Teddy Riley.
Such hip-hop media slingers as SOHH and AllHipHop have reported last week about the mega-producer's fall from monetary grace. One significant blogger even suggests, "Sh--, he [Teddy] might want to even dip into the earnings of Pharrell and Timbaland, since they owe their careers to the guy and all," as blogged by XXL Presents Scratch.
From the outside looking in, it appears to be trouble for the superstar, however, I'm on the inside looking out and everything is not as it seems. See folks, I have spearheaded some major publicity for Teddy Riley and have worked hand-in-hand with his business team. As I said before, I know him. Matter of fact, he is calling me right now... he just left a message on my voicemail, listen below:
During the last three weeks, I have been in the diligent process of organizing a business venture with Teddy Riley. I utilized one of my closest contacts to arrange a deal worth about a quarter million dollars.
I'm a hustla homie, and here's how it was going down:
Teddy has a daughter named Deja who is celebrating her next birthday on MTV's "My Super Sweet Sixteen," one of the most popular shows on MTV. Teddy was shopping around for the perfect car for his little princess. When I found out that he was planning on purchasing a BMW to present to her at her televised birthday bash, I suggested an offer he couldn't refuse.
One of my best friends runs a luxury car dealership in Louisville, KY and I was able to convince him of a master plan that would be a win-win situation for both the local dealership and Teddy Riley's team. In exchange for four brand new BMWs, Teddy agreed to spotlight the car dealership on this upcoming major television event (if you have ever watched MTV's "My Super Sweet Sixteen," you know that the car is always the highlight of the show). MTV viewers would watch as Teddy and his daughter fly to Louisville to pick out her dream ride at this luxury car retailer (This is product placement at the highest level). The camera crew would follow the Riley's around the showroom in search of her special birthday gift. On top of that, Teddy was going to allow the car dealership to present Deja with the car keys on camera in front of millions of viewers worldwide. Not only was the car lot going to receive this prime advertisement, Teddy sweetened the deal and agreed to film a commercial for this dealership and give one of their employees a song produced by him.
Teddy, who is a devoted Mercedes Benz connoisseur told me just last week, "Jonathan, you have just turned me into a BMW driver and I will get rid of my Mercedes and only drive BMW from here on out." I was dumb excited because I was getting one of these cars myself... and I'm going to keep it real, I was in-turn going to give it to my new fiancée, Sabrina, as an early wedding present. I felt like the man because everyone involved was ecstatic over this whole deal and I would be bringing MTV to my old Kentucky home for the filming on February 18th.
Then, out of nowhere, breaking news started to surface about Teddy's severe financial suffering. Once the reports began to circulate, the dealership got spooked and the deal was off...just like that. As you can probably imagine, I was beyond upset. Words cannot explain the brutal disappointment that affected everyone involved. Teddy Riley, Deja Riley, Greg "4orty" Bowman and I were not going to be the proud new owners of a BMW after all. The thing that pissed me off the most was that these rumors weren't all entirely true, and damage control could not resolve this situation. Here is the truth people, Teddy Riley is NOT broke. I repeat, not broke.
Teddy lives in a stunning mansion in Atlanta, fit for a king... the king of new jack swing. He has one of the dopest houses I have ever been in, and I have visited some amazing cribs in my life. His driveway is laced with several luxurious cars including a Mercedes Benz Maybach. Teddy has a multi-million dollar tour bus with its own state-of-the art-recording studio that has voice-activated gear. His personal recording studio in Atlanta is simply unbelievable; it reminds me of a futuristic spacecraft, like something you would only see in movies. Teddy Riley has been blessed. Contrary to the media reports, his Future Records recording studio in Virginia is not outdated. Granted, the gear is old, but is considered vintage and is the choice recording preference of many A-list super producers who prefer the warm analog sound over digital. The equipment in this studio is priceless and it would be would hard to establish a value for it. The studio in Virginia is one of the most important studios in music history and it should be preserved and recognized as a national monument. Some of the most popular songs of all time have been created at this studio.
So while all these media reports are flying around about his bankrupt studio in Virginia, Teddy has been kicking back in his Atlanta studio making hit records for Snoop Dogg, Tank and Jamie Foxx. Teddy also just formed a company called QDJ with both DJ Quick and Snoop Dogg. This newly formed company will change the music industry as we know it. With over 200 million records sold, Teddy's discography includes credits on more than 460 songs. He has produced 10 platinum albums, 22 platinum singles and 11 gold singles. This is black history month, and in my opinion, we should be celebrating the history of our black musical pioneers who have helped cultivate our genre.
However, there is a reality to this very real situation. The Roots said it best right before the dawn of the millennium that "Things Fall Apart." Most people in our hip-hop genre, and society in general, are excessively consumed with materialistic lust. We idolize the lifestyles of celebrities and we put too much focus on "things" in general. All earthly things shall pass away. Money can buy you a kingdom on earth, but money can't buy your ticket into the kingdom of heaven.
Bottom line, we need to stop judging others because, like all things, we to will come to pass and stand before God, hoping to hear the words, my good and faithful servant.
Poor Teddy Riley, don't let the bastards grind you down...
"Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don't ever count on it. You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that's a picture of the "prosperous life." At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades way to nothing." -James 1: 10-11 (The Message/Remix Bible)