Out of Paterson, New Jersey comes one of the smoothest set of harmonies known to R&B. Composed of five layers of rhythmic soul, Riff emerged as a breakout sound as far back as high school. Anthony "Chill" Fuller, Dwayne "Stylz" Jones, Michael "Nitty Green" Best, and Stephen Capers Jr. had already been blending their vocals while attending church together. Soon to join them was classmate Kenny Kelly at Eastside High — the same one to make cinematic history. The time that group member Michael Best got stopped by the infamous Mr. Clark, and made to sing the school’s alma mater is as storied as the film itself. Asking for a delay, he gathered his vocal partners and they turned out a rendition that became a talked about, sought after regular. One so compelling it was added to the 1989 release of the film, “Lean On Me”. Strongly influenced by doo-wop the group then called themselves ‘The Playboys” as they went about honing what would become a chart-topping R&B group.
By the time the fabulous quintet were featured in the film—even contributing two songs to the soundtrack—they were no longer the innocent Playboys as they were whisked on their first plane ride to Los Angeles, and soon after into a deal with SBK Records in 1990. They quickly hit listeners with a riveting, self-titled LP, “Riff” then following up with immediate top 10 hits from, "My Heart Is Failing Me" (peaking at #6 and making it to #4 On The Top 40 Charts), "If You're Serious" (#7), the third single off the album, “Every Time My Heart Beats,” as well as "White Men Can't Jump" (produced by Dallas Austin) which was their #1 hit. Riff was still at it two years later with their 1993 release, “To Whom It May Concern,” which delivered two singles to the R&B charts, "Judy Had a Boyfriend,"(produced by Teddy Riley/Bernard Bell), and "Baby It's Yours". Appearing with live performances across the airwaves, from Soul Train and the Arsenio Hall show to The Tonight Show and MTV, coupled with massive tours with Vanilla Ice and LL Cool J; the group built their fan base one song at a time. Riff goes down as an era favorite on all current playlists for their four Billboard Hot 100 hits, and even their contribution "Family" to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles soundtrack.
As the 1990’s came to an end, so did the group’s full time work together as Anthony Fuller, Dwayne Jones, and Michael Best became members of the R&B group Men of Vizion and found themselves working with the legendary Michael Jackson. With no bad blood between Riff, the group continued to reunite occasionally and bring again the Eastside “Song Birds” to their adoring fans—even on into summer 2013 as opening act for Cyndi Lauper on her “She's So Unusual" tour. With such a footprint in R&B, it is no wonder fans have been clamoring for their latest—and Riff, harmonically reunited will not disappoint. The tragic passing of original member, Kenny Kelly, in July 2016 happened just after discussing a reunion concert with Kenny agreeing to join. Since, the group has even more soul spinning their sound—one bred from brotherhood and emotion. While devastated at the loss of their old friend and musical partner; the group insists their original fifth harmony is still singing along with them, galvanizing them with a newfound energy and determination as they complete their current project and perform to sold out crowds.
As of January 2017, with the new members talented Delvis Damon and Andre Lamar blending their electrifying and versatile powerhouse tones to the quintet’s synchronized sound, Riff has reemerged as vocally innovative as they ever were, releasing their highly anticipated new single “Say The Word”, stepping toward new heights as if they haven’t missed a beat.
Last Updated: September 13, 2017