R&B Faceoff Breaks IG Live

21 Apr, 2020

It was a battle for the grown folks Monday night (Apr. 20) on Instagram Live, as two of the most renowned figures in modern R&B — Teddy Riley and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds — took turns spinning their respective classics, to the delight of music fans across social media.

Though the battle between the two legendary writer-producers was originally scheduled for three Sundays prior, the bout was delayed by a combination of Babyface having tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and Teddy Riley taking issue with some elements of the Timbaland- and Swizz-Beatz-curated Verzuz series. The showdown was rescheduled for last Saturday, but that also proved premature, as technical issues on Riley’s end (which most bystanders blamed on his elaborate stage setup) ended up forcing a second postponement of the head-to-head.

Such issues also threatened to compromise the duo’s third try at the event, as viewers were told to decamp from Teddy Riley’s page to Babyface’s, and then Babyface had trouble patching Riley through to his own page. But by 8:10pm, both writer-producers were present and accounted for, and sounding good — finally ready to get the battle going. Issues with Teddy’s sound and Internet popped up throughout the bout, but the two competitors still nearly got all the way to round 20, before Riley’s connection cut out one final time, and the two could no longer get back into one another’s feeds.

Still, even with the late-inning quasi-rainout, there was still enough for a full ballgame. Check out how Billboard scored Monday night’s writer-producer’s duel between Babyface and Teddy Riley below.

There’s no question whose side the Internet was on tonight: As many classics as Teddy Riley brought to the showdown, and as well-plotted as their deployment was through at least the event’s first half, he was still fighting against the tide, since one perfect ballad and one well-placed comment of (possibly unwitting) shade from Babyface — with his acoustic guitar, his white wine, and his Grammy statues — and it instantly seemed like he’d been winning the whole time. We were reminded why Riley is rightfully considered an all-time great, but also this was always Babyface’s game to lose.


Image Verzuz.tv instagram

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