Teddy Riley might consider taking a meeting with Sir Mix-a-Lot. Like the Seattle rapper whose "Baby Got Back," an ode to the female posterior, generated controversy earlier this year, writer-producer Riley finds himself in hot water with the video for "Rump Shaker," the Top 5 hit single by the rap group Wreckx-N-Effect.
"Rumps ain't dirty," said Riley, who co-wrote and produced the single. "We don't make them dirty. They're just shaking a little. It's harmless fun, paying respect to females and not making fun of them."
Riley, whose brother Markell is a member of Wreckx-N-Effect, is still miffed that MTV wouldn't play the video. "It's not fair that artists like Shabba Ranks and Prince say all kinds of dirty things and their videos get played. It's something about behinds that gets people riled up."
Realizing it was missing out on a hot single, MTV offered to play a "clean" video of "Rump Shaker." But last week, Wreckx-N-Effect and MCA Records--distributor of Riley's label, Future Records--decided not to make another version.
"What's the point?" Riley asked. "The single's already a smash hit. Why spend that money now?"
Riley, whose key credits include writing and production work with Michael Jackson and Bobby Brown and a stint in the disbanded group Guy, is just a part-time member of Wreckx-N-Effect, which was started in 1987 in Harlem by his brother with Aquil Davidson and Brandon Mitchell.
The group has been through some hard times--a failed EP on Atlantic and a Motown album that didn't sell but did generate a bitter dispute that legally handcuffed the group for a long time.
But those were minor hassles compared to what came next: Mitchell was shot and killed in an argument over a woman in 1990.
"We were devastated," said Markell Riley, adding that Mitchell's share of the group's royalties go to his son and mother. "Hard or Smooth," the group's second album, came out last week. (See review, Page 54.)
"We thought about breaking up, but we decided to go on and make something positive out of all this.
"It looks like we're going to make some money that will help his family," he said, "and this rump shakin', which some people think is bad, is the key that started it all off."