It was supposed to be a battle for the grown folks Saturday night (Apr. 18) on Instagram Live, as two of the most renowned figures in modern R&B — Teddy Riley and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds — were to take turns spinning their respective classics, to the delight of music fans across social media.
However, the technical issues that plagued the early stages of last week’s RZA vs. DJ Premier battle re-emerged this week, with Riley’s sound coming in too low and overwhelmed by echoing reverb. This time, they proved insurmountable. After an hour of alternately attempting to fix and play through the issues — with the two competitors even agreeing to start over after each getting through their first three songs — a half-hour delay was called shortly after 10:00, as Riley’s engineers attempted to fix their subpar sound.
Around 10:30, Babyface announced on his Instagram that the event would be postponed, explaining, “I think that it’s only right that we postpone this thing until another time when there aren’t any technical difficulties, and everybody can hear the music the way it needs to be heard.”
Throughout the short-lived competition, and directly afterwards, viewers of course had a field day roasting the two writer-producers — particularly Riley, whose ambitious performance setup was partly blamed for the technical hiccups — over the myriad delays.
Even R&B superstar Toni Braxton, a regular collaborator of Babyface’s, got in on the fun:
Though the battle between the two legendary writer-producers was originally scheduled for two 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. But with Edmonds healthy and Riley’s concerns apparently put at bay, the duo were clear to face off with their decades each of pop, hip-hop and R&B hits — before the sound issues finished the competition early.
No rescheduling for Babyface vs. Teddy Riley or for future Verzuz battles has yet been announced.