Blackstreet’s Teddy Riley has responded in detail to allegations made by his now-former bandmate Chauncey Hannibal with a statement sent exclusively to MTV News.
As we previously reported, Hannibal filed a $2 million lawsuit charging Riley with misappropriation of funds, claiming he never received royalties and that he and the other members of Blackstreet were not properly compensated after the demise of the group’s label deal with Interscope Records.
Riley in turn filed a countersuit that includes charges of defamation of character and slander. The producer-performer previously told MTV News that he had done “nothing but good business” with Hannibal (see “UPDATE: Blackstreet’s Chauncey Disses Riley, Sisqo On Wax” ).
“I can’t understand how a man gets so desperate he would do anything to bring another man down,” Riley’s statement begins. “[Hannibal is] not a street kid. He’s a church boy, and I don’t understand
why he’s coming street with me.”
In his statement, Riley takes the Blackstreet story back to the group’s earliest roots, detailing his first meeting Hannibal and the formation of the Blackstreet lineup including Hannibal (whom Riley dubbed “Chauncey Black”) and Riley along with Hannibal’s find, Levi Little, and Riley’s suggestion, Joe Stonestreet.
Riley also goes into the group’s signing with Interscope. “I made a deal where Chauncey Black made more than ten times the industry standard,” he asserts.
“[Hannibal] did not write on any of the Blackstreet songs, so I gave him some of my publishing to make his deal sweeter,” Riley states. “Check the credits. All Blackstreet members received publishing for songs on which they sang lead. Now, try and name a Blackstreet hit on which Chauncey sang lead. You can’t, because he did not sing any of the hits. He got publishing, though.”
Riley goes on to state that he gave Hannibal down payments on both his and his mother’s
homes, helped him out of a bad tax situation with $150,000 cash, and convinced Interscope to pay Hannibal monthly stipends.
The producer-performer also details the circumstances leading to the departures of various group members, including the dismissals of Levi Little and later member Mark Middleton, both of which Riley attributes to jealousy on Hannibal’s part.
“Eric Williams was the only member who didn’t get dismissed, because he is C. Black’s best friend, which was what I thought I was,” Riley says. “Best friends do not do what C. Black is doing now to me.”
Riley concludes by stating, “I’ve retired as an artist and devoted myself to developing new young stars,” and apologizes to the public “for music you are missing while this nonsense goes on.”