Even Trevor Noah is a fanboy when it comes to Teddy Riley and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds.
The quarantined Daily Show host, who is now hosting his Daily Social Distancing Show from his Manhattan apartment, talked to the superstar producers after their Instagram Live Battle.
The duo was brought together by Swizz Beats and Timbaland’s ‘Verzuz’ battle series, which mesmerized social media over the past week. The Teddy/Babyface battle had its glitches. First, Babyface, 62, had to postpone after revealing he was recovering from COVID-19.
Then their first battle, which was set up to stream on Riley’s website as well as Instagram Live, had to be rescheduled due to technical difficulties. Riley, 51, had a full studio full of people, including a hype man, and seemed ready to perform his songs live, but his mic setup was causing his side of the battle to echo.
Celebrities including Toni and Tamar Braxton, Tyrese, and Charlamagne the God hilariously pleaded with Riley to mute his mic but Riley eventually opted to postpone. But not before some funny memes were created to highlight the problems.
Teddy Riley watching his legacy change from R&B legend to meme legend in real time pic.twitter.com/waUSOIqfkX
— Mob Gronkowski (@RoseCity_Chris) April 19, 2020
It’s crazy that this is a meme of Teddy Riley, when this was how Babyface was feeling the whole time. pic.twitter.com/4l7ja4hUPC
— Whitney (@_iPebbles_) April 19, 2020
Riley and Babyface did manage to finally pull it off, even though the number of people on Instagram Live created other technical difficulties.
Teddy Riley and Babyface turned memes into millions crashing Instagram Live tonight in their #VERZUZ battle.
Instagram Live’s bandwith is only set to hold around 500K when joined with a friend. Over 3 million viewers reportedly watched the musicians masterclass on the platform. pic.twitter.com/cjUki8wdLY
— HĪPMAGAZINE.ORG (@hipmagazineorg) April 21, 2020
But once they did get through 18 rounds of their proposed 20 on Monday night, it was magic. Three million people tried to get on the Live, which reportedly broke Instagram Live records for viewership.
Who won? Some say Babyface, some say Riley but the real victor was the culture, especially as it brought so many people together in a difficult time.
Noah asked the duo about their approaches to the battle.
“It wasn’t about beating each other,” said Babyface. “We wanted it to feel good. That was part of the fun of it. So every time he played something, truly, I was like a fan. [I was thinking] that’s that one that I wish I wrote.”
Riley addressed the technical issues that caused such amusement on Black Twitter.
“This is something new to us,” Riley said. “We’re technical guys for sure. But with Instagram, it’s another world because you’re talking about people 15-35 are on there. People appreciate us being on. Everything that comes our way, I’m so appreciative.”
Noah thanked the duo, saying that he hopes they can do it again.
“The one thing that struck me is not just the amount that you’ve given but the way it feels like you’ve enjoyed everything that you received,” Noah told them. “Thank you to both of you. It was one of the most amazing experiences a group of people have had on the internet for a really long time. I hope it’s not the last battle, because I know there’s still a lot of songs in that catalogue.”
Watch the entire interview below.
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s new podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!