Ne-Yo and Johntá Austin’s songwriter battle ignites Instagram

On Sunday, songwriters Ne-Yo and Johntá Austin ignited the online space with The Songwriter’s Battle, which saw the esteemed songwriters going tune-for-tune across their R&B hit-making catalogues.

Singer and songwriter Ne-Yo

Though they started off cool, Austin took his first major swing with Aaliyah’s2002 I Miss You. Ne-Yo hit back with Rihanna’s 2006 Unfaithful, a strong indication that he did not come to play either. Sticking to the big guns, Austin drew for It’s Like That by Mariah Carey, one of several songs he has co-written for the singer. Seemingly befuddled at first, Ne-Yo struck back with Keri Hilson’s Knock You Down.

Dubbing Ne-Yo “sneaky” for playing Mack Wilds’ Own It, Austin took it back to 2005, with Chris Brown’s Yo (Excuse Me Miss).

“I don’t trust nobody else after Chris but myself so…” Ne-Yo said, before dropping his song Stay With Me.

“This was hard, but I didn’t know Johntá wrote all those, Imma have to go with Johntá!”

— Social media user

Dipping in his Mariah catalogue once more, Austin punched back with Don’t Forget About Us. Ne-Yo’s pick of Jennifer Hudson’s Spotlight, for which he has production and writing credits, had the ladies approval in the comments, but so did another classic by Austin, Toni Braxton’s Just Be A Man.

Ne-Yo continued with his own tracks Do You, Buss It Baby (with Plies), Go On Girl, So Sick and Sexy Love.

Finishing strong

Austin stood collected with Bow Wow’s Shorty Like Mine and Like You, Chris Brown’s With You, and Aaliyah’s I Don’t Wanna Be Without You.

“Some of y’all might have been born to this record, Ne-Yo, you might have went to prom on this record…” said Austin before dropping Tyrese’s 1998 Sweet Lady.

Songwriter Johntá Austin (Photo:

Rounding off Ne-Yo’s last few monster picks were his own Miss Independent, which earned applause from Austin, Mario’s Let Me Love You and Beyonce’s Irreplaceable.

Austin finished strong with Chris Brown’s Poppin, Mary J Blige’s Be Without You and Mariah’s We Belong Together.

Virtual attendees of the battle were split between a tie, and Austin taking the cake.

“Both are legends but Johntá, all them Mariah hits and that Toni tune is my favourite,” said one user.

“Both of them were amazing but Johntá had them heavy hitters.”

“This was hard, but I didn’t know Johntá wrote all those, Imma have to go with Johntá!”