New Edition And Guy’s ’80s Beef Caused Someone To Die, It Went Way Too Far
If the West Coast/East Coast beef was the era when rap became ugly, then the N.E. & Guy beef was the era when R&B became ugly. Guy and New Edition were two of the hottest ‘80s groups in the music game. By the time 1989 hit, they were also two of the most feuding groups in the game and unfortunately, things got TERRIBLY heated between them that year.
It Went Down July 1989
It all went down in July of ’89 at the Budweiser Superfest in Greensboro, N.C., and according to an article written for the Sun Sentinal, Violence On- And Offstage A Bitter Blow To R&b Tour, things got heated.
Read all the details below…
Guy — playing as part of that five-act show — performed too long onstage. Of course this got the members of New Edition, a lil’ heated, so they went on stage while Guy was performing.
At first, the audience cheered, thinking Guy and N.E. would be performing together. But then, according to witnesses and published reports, a fight broke out onstage among the group members. Fists flew. Equipment flew. And the show was suspended for one hour.
The next day, the Superfest moved to Pittsburgh. Waiting there for New Edition crew members, was what police labeled as a “Hit Squad“ — flown in from New York by Gene Griffin (the well established music executive and manager for Guy), under the allegedly false pretense of protecting his group, Guy. That’s when things turned tragic.
That same afternoon, 7 to 12 identically dressed men, allegedly employed by Guy, made their way into the Pittsburgh Civic Arena and viciously attacked two New Edition crew members who were onstage setting up equipment. Police recovered seven broken baseball bats, but apparently the bats weren’t used in the incident. Pittsburgh police said the bats were originally purchased by Guy employees at a sporting goods store specifically for use during a planned fight, but the bats were accidentally crushed underneath a truck.
Instead, the participants substituted microphone stands as their weapon of choice. New Edition’s then stage manager, Michael Spider Clark, was beaten into critical condition. Production manager, Ronald Byrd, was also beaten severely, but managed to escape during the attack.
Byrd located a gun while the fight was still going on, and, according to police reports, chased Guy’s security manager, Anthony Bee, out of the arena and across the street, where he then shot Bee twice, as Bee was trying to make his way to safety inside a nearby hotel, but it was too late. Bee staggered into the hotel lobby and died a short time later.
According to the Pittsburgh Police Investigations Unit, “Griffin, then 39, was charged with criminal solicitation and aggravated assault. Three Guy employees also were arrested — each charged with two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of criminal conspiracy. Byrd was been charged with criminal homicide.”
New Edition and Guy were immediately dropped from the Budweiser Superfest Tour. In a joint statement issued, both bands claimed they were “saddened by the incident, but that fans should know it was a backstage feud that did not involve the band members.”
This is a very sad situation and clearly, a tragic loss like this could have possibly been avoided had certain factors been in place. However, the reality is this: lots of African American recording artists don’t necessarily come from a silver spoon type of background, so when they reach a certain level of success, they tend to take drastic measures to protect it at all costs. This holds true today in regards to the beef between several rappers of this era, some of whom we’ve lost far too soon.
Needless to say, New Edition and Guy have learned from this unfortunate incident and are clearly, much wiser these days.