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The Teddy Riley vs. Babyface Instagram Battle Managed to Be Too Much and Too Little All at Once

Illustration for article titled The Teddy Riley vs. Babyface Instagram Battle Managed to Be Too Much and Too Little All at Once
Photo: Bennett Raglin (Getty Images)

Over 400,000 people tuned in Saturday night for what was supposed to be the much anticipated Instagram battle between two music giants but ended up being an awkward, clumsy, cringe-worthy non-spectacle that ended in the whole thing being called on account of clusterfuck and postponed....again.


The live battle between Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Teddy Riley, which was originally planned for April 12 but was postponed due to Babyface’s COVID-19 diagnosis, was a whole mess from the start. First of all, Riley must have misunderstood the assignment because the man who gave us Blackstreet and Guy also gave us audio-fail induced headaches after becoming the picture-perfect example of “doing too much.” While Babyface was appropriately just one man sitting in a studio with his phone, Riley looked like he was set up for a whole ass concert complete with stage, live drummer, multiple microphones and sound crew. And “sound” was pretty much all we got as a cacophony of echoing and reverb mixed with low audio replay filled Riley’s first three rounds of competition.

Riley eventually attempted to put everything on pause and have fans come back in a half-hour but Babyface suggested postponing the whole thing for another day.


“Tonight was really special ... it’s only right that we postpone this thing and do it at a time when there aren’t any technical difficulties and everybody can hear the music the way it needs to be heard,” Babyface said via Instagram video.

So, you all know what happened next, right? Yep, Black Twitter went ham. R&B icon Toni Braxton had a damn field day.


Braxton couldn’t help but point out what we were all thinking: 62-year-old Babyface and 52-year-old Riley have just engaged in an old-guys-don’t-know-what-they’re-doing-o-thon.


Braxton, of course, wasn’t the only one clowning. Comedian Kevin Fredericks posted a parody of Riley’s performance to Instagram that was...actually pretty damn spot on.


Other fans were equally ruthless because if there’s one thing black people are masters of, it’s poking fun at a disaster.


Of course, it needed to be pointed out that while Riley was doing a lot, social distancing was the one thing he maybe hadn’t done enough of.


All and all, the response to Riley and Babyface’s battle has been far more entertaining than the battle itself. Hopefully, when the two iconic producers meet again for the “for real this time” show, Riley will have taken Swizz Beatz’ advice that “less is more.”

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

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Yeah I did not know Toni Braxton had jokes! What a breath of fresh.