Blackstreet (often stylized as BLACKstreet) is an American R&B group founded in 1991 by Thomas Taliaferro and Teddy Riley, the inventor of new jack swing known for his work as a member of Guy. Chauncey Hannibal and Levi Little were signed under production and management contracts with Thomas Taliaferro and were merged into what became Blackstreet featuring Teddy Riley. The current members are Teddy Riley, Chauncey Black, Dave Hollister, & new member Glenn Adams aka Lenny Harold. Mark Middleton & Eric Williams are no longer in the group. The original members of Blackstreet were Teddy Riley, Chauncey Black, Levi Little, and Joseph Stonestreet. Stonestreet was replaced, however, by Dave Hollister before they began work on their self-titled debut album. The name Blackstreet is a portmanteau of the nicknames of Hannibal (Chauncey Black) and Joseph Stonestreet (Street). The group is noted for doing the dance move « The Lean » at concerts.
The original group released their first single in 1993, on the soundtrack to the Universal Pictures comedy CB4 (starring Chris Rock) titled « Baby Be Mine », featuring Joseph Stonestreet on lead, produced by Teddy Riley, and written by Teddy Riley and Joseph Stonestreet. However, Stonestreet left the group shortly after the single was released (due to personal issues) and was replaced by Dave Hollister.
Their debut album, Blackstreet, was a platinum-selling success, featuring the singles « Booti Call », « Before I Let You Go », and « Joy », two of which were Top 40 hits (« Before I Let You Go » hit the Top 10). The follow-up, 1996’s Another Level (see 1996 in music) was a breakthrough success due to the top single « No Diggity » (with Dr. Dre), which was a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1996, and won the 1998 Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, along with the Top 40 hit « Don’t Leave Me » which was a big hit in 1996. Another Level eventually went four times platinum in the United States and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard chart. « No Diggity » is ranked at No. 91 on Rolling Stone and MTV: 100 Greatest Pop Songs, while Blackstreet comes in at No. 214 of the Top 500 Pop Artists of the Past 25 Years.
The album Another Level featured Mark Middleton and Eric Williams in place of Dave Hollister & Levi Little. The success of Another Level landed them a guest appearance on Jay-Z’s « The City Is Mine » and they teamed with Mýa and Mase for the hit « Take Me There » from the Rugrats soundtrack. The success of Another Level would also land them a spot on New Edition’s 1999 Home Again reunion tour.
The first single from their third album, « Girlfriend/Boyfriend », a collaboration with Janet Jackson featuring Ja Rule and Eve – Blackstreet finally had a top ten album with Finally. But personnel shifts wrecked the group and contributed to the relative failure of Finally (1999 in music) and Blackstreet soon broke up. After rumors of legal action and a preemptive countersuit, the group re-banded and released Level II in 2003 (see 2003 in music). Blackstreet now consists of original members Teddy Riley, Chauncey Hannibal, Dave Hollister and new member Sherman « J-Stylz » Tinsdale. Also Kermit Quinn formerly of the R&B group Intro performs with Blackstreet. Mark Middleton and Eric Williams left due to differences with Teddy Riley & Chauncey Hannibal over money distribution. They started going oversees singing Blackstreet’s music with another guy Jeremy « Remy » Hanna. They eventually came up with the group name M.E.R. to avoid being sued by Teddy and Chauncey.
Riley recorded a reunion album with Guy in 2000, and subsequently began working on material for his first solo record. However, he had second thoughts about disbanding Blackstreet, and patched things up with Hannibal; Middleton and Williams, returned to restore the Another Level lineup, and Riley’s solo project became a Blackstreet reunion. The resulting album, Level II, was released in early 2003. Teddy Riley, Dave Hollister, Mark Middleton, and Eric Williams is the lineup for Blackstreet from now on they call themselves the final 4. Chauncey Black is no longer in the group as he is pursuing a solo career.
Chauncey Black has returned to the lineup and both Mark Middleton and Eric Williams are no longer in the group and are focusing on a separate group called Merj. Blackstreet now consists of Teddy Riley, Chauncey Black, Dave Hollister and new members Glenn Adams aka Lenny Harold & Tony Tyler have joined them.