The long-awaited RnB showdown between super producers Babyface and Teddy Riley unfolded on Instagram Monday night, and to say they broke the internet would be borderline disrespectful.
More than 500,000 people witnessed the clash of the 90s titans, including celebrities Michelle Obama, Janet Jackson, Dr Dre, Diddy, Toni Braxton, Queen Latifah, Nas, Snoop Dogg and Brandy, and Instagram was not prepared.
“We love how much y’all enjoying the #TeddyRileyvBabyface live on Instagram!” a tweet from the platform said. “We’re experiencing some technical difficulties on mobile but we’re working on it. In the meantime, live is available on desktop.”
The battle, part of the Verzuz series organised by producers Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, has been on the tongues of many since technical difficulties halted the show’s original date on Saturday. Riley’s full band and hype man were the subject of unsparing memes in a matter of hours, and he was sure to ditch the concert set-up for the rematch to the joy of attendees.
Though connection issues occasionally interfered with the grown folks’ party, it did not prevent the nostalgia of teenage love, block parties you snuck out to attend, and your auntie’s backyard BBQ from rushing in. Often credited as the king of the new jack swing sound, Riley came out swinging with SWV’s Right Here. Babyface, using anecdotes before each track, spoke of the time Michael Jackson wanted him to hook him up with Halle Berry, before drawing for Toni Braxton’s Love Shoulda Brought You Home which appeared in the film Boomerang in which Berry appeared.
Riley’s first-round picks included Keith Sweat’s Make It Last, Johnny Kemp’s Just Got Paid, and Gotta Get You Home by Foxy Brown and Blackstreet. Babyface, eating skittles and sipping wine between Riley’s takes, kept it cool with songs like Can We Talk by Tevin Campbell, Every Little Step by Bobby Brown and his own, Every Time I Close My Eyes.
The hits did not ease up in round two, with Babyface dropping Johnny Gill’s My, My, My, TLC’s Red Light Special and I’ll Make Love to You by Boyz II Men. Riley rolled out his Jackson catalogue with Jam, In The Closet and Janet Jackson’s I Get Lonely (remix).
The battle came to an unexpected end as the competition grew sweeter, but not before Babyface dropped more classics, including End Of The Road by Boyz II Men and Count On Me by Whitney Houston. Riley also played MJ’s Dangerous, and Blackstreet’s No Diggity.