Teddy Riley Vs Babyface IG Battle

by Caroline Onyedinma

Did you catch the Teddy Riley Vs Babyface music debacle battle hosted on Instagram live?

The highly anticipated online event that finally happened on Saturday, 18th April was the latest “bout of the beats” from the Instagram Live Verzuz series, created by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz. 

The rules of the toe-to-toe showdown are simple:

  • Swizz and Timbaland pair up the artists
  • The artists must have a repertoire of at least 20 classic hits
  • The artist must have written, produced, performed, or contributed to the hit
  • The homebound contenders go the distance on IG live, alternating their hottest beats in battle fashion
  • Hilarity ensues in the comments 

The Verzuz is NOT the stereotypical feuding battle we often see between musical rivals that have beef.  They are virtual events grounded in love and respect. The Grammy award-winning beat makers created this friendly competition to celebrate the culture.

At the time of writing this article, nations are on CoronaVirus lockdown. People are struggling with COVID-19 anxiety, social distancing, and mass unemployment.  :(

R ‘N' B fans globally looked forward to this entertainment relief and Team Riley and Team Babyface engaged in banter about who would emerge the winner as a much-welcomed distraction from the heaviness of the global pandemic.

450k+ fans hit IG live on Sunday night. The excitement was palpable as Teddy Riley and Babyface got ready to spin their hottest hits back to back. People were ready to take a trip down memory lane and dance their blues away.

I had no doubt it would be a close competition. Personal nostalgia had my money on Teddy Riley, but three songs in, the crappy audio cut the much-anticipated vezsus short before anyone could be declared the winner.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The little that I experienced was HELLA fun! These musical magicians dropped some bangers that had me bopping on the bedroom dance floor of Club Homebound.

  • Riley came out guns firing with The Show - Dougie Fresh.
  • Baby Face came for his neck with Bobby Brown’s Every Little Step Remix.

Celebrity spotting the IG accounts that joined was also entertaining.

The short-lived event was riddled with technical problems. The event started at 9.00 pm but at 10.00 they were still struggling to fix the audio issues and the annoying echo reverb that seemed to come from Teddy Riley’s side.

After restarting and repeating the first three songs they were unable to overcome the obstacles.

 After a suggested 30 minute break they decided to call it quits with a promise to reschedule.

View this post on Instagram

Thank you everyone for being there for us

A post shared by Kenny Edmonds (@babyface) on

 As you can imagine, social media had no chill!

The banter from A-listers in the comments such as Tamar Braxton, TPain, and Tyrese had me ugly cry laughing and cringing at the same time. 

Black Twitter lit up. Facebook was on fire. Cue the memes and GIFs that instantly emerged. 

CTAGod, Keeper of the Culture didn’t fail to disappoint.

View this post on Instagram

This how the youngins looking at us 40 and ups right now. Come on #TeamTeddy let’s get this shit together!!!!!

A post shared by LENARD (@cthagod) on

But, let’s put some respect on these icon’s names:

Teddy Riley and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds are L.E.G.E.N.D.S. that are behind some of the most iconic R&B, New Jack Swing, and hip-hop hits EVER!!

Both men are successful business owners that have generated billions of dollars in their industry. They are pioneers that not only have contributed but created a culture that has impacted the world.

Yes, the meme-ologists are having a field day. The bloggers and culture critics must talk.

But as an online business coach that helps plan, create and grow an online business a retrospective is in order. Take a break from the gif sniggles and giggles to glean a few important business lessons from the flopped battle.

PSA: Technical demons have no mercy and are no respecters of any entrepreneur.

If the greatest musical producers can take that temporary L, how much more you?

Online business owners are always one move away from a virtual event flop:

  • Webinar technology can fail
  • Zoom video streaming can be intermittent
  • Facebook live streaming can freeze
  • High ticket offers can tank
  • Sales pages can have the wrong link to the cart
  • Facebook ads can get banned
  • Kajabi or other online course platforms can overload
  • Stripe or Paypal can hold your funds
  • Email sequences can fail to fire

There is much to learn from this internet battle gone wrong that can help us bulletproof our own businesses.

This article reveals 10 Business mistakes to avoid from the botched Teddy Riley vs BabyFace IG battle.

I actually gleaned 19 lessons, if you want them all, watch the video or else read on for the top 10.

 1. Complexity kills but simple sells.

Like Swizz said it best...

“Less is more you’re doing too much. The hits are already made all you have to do is project them”.

  • Teddy Riley had various mics, speakers, a green screen, a large team. Enough equipment for an entire sold-out stadium concert.
  • Adding all that technical complexity, especially on a platform you don’t control is asking for trouble.
  • BabyFace got it right. He showed up in his studio with his iPhone, earphones, and a playlist. PERIOD.

Business take away: Let your amazing product speak for itself. People appreciate simple solutions that deliver amazing value. Adding unnecessary complexity to your setup increases the chances of something going wrong.

2. Give your audience what they want, not what you think they need

  • The buzz on the Internet was hot before the event. Social distancing and the COVID-19 is wearing people thin. This event was a happy distraction to distance us from the anxiety and overwhelm many were facing from COVID-19.
    Did Riley’s camp read in between the lines of what the people wanted or what they thought the market wanted?
    People wanted escapism from the stress of these uncertain times.
  • People wanted to take a trip down memory lane and stir up some nostalgia remembering their first love or heartbreak.
  • People wanted the community and to celebrate the R 'n' B culture.

Business Takeaway: You don’t fill your own wallet. Listen to the heartbeat of the marketplace and provide a solution that actually solves your audience's problems. Understanding the motivation for why they want to consume your offer determines your success.

3. Get rid of filler and fluff bonuses
The Kangol-wearing hype man was an added bonus but did we really need him to enjoy what Teddy had to offer?

Hype man brought us back to the 90s with the BOP and the WOP but from the feedback in the comments, the audience didn't appreciate it.

Business takeaway: Adding the wrong kind of bonus can overwhelm your audience. An amazing product or service that communicates its value can sell by itself.

4. Have a team that understands the technical set up

  • Riley had a team, but was that the right team for the event? Millennials and Gen tend to be more online tech-savvy.
  • People go live with multiple devices all the time. You need a small team of aficionados who understand the tech set up like the back of their hand.
  • The calm and cool demeanor of the  Babyface suggested that he had been prepped on the best way to approach this event
  • Business takeaway: Not every team is the right team. Hire technical expertise specifically for the kind of event or business model that you want to launch

5. Always do a test run

  • Livestreaming is fast and furious but both artists could still have performed a soundcheck in a private IG account.
  • Business takeaway: Always do a pre-event sound and time check. Make sure your team knows their individual responsibility.

6. Repurpose your content correctly

  • Riley’s setup suggested he hoped to get a two for 1 by recording content at the same time for different platforms.
  • Not all content formats lend well to every platform
  • Repurposing work only when the technical set up doesn’t hamper content creation
  • Business takeaway: Doing too much at once in order to save time can actually cost you time.

7. Bad audio is a deadly sin

  • Teddy Riley’s audio was echoed like a shipwreck survivor shouting "is anybody there?", in a cave.
  • You may get a pass on poor video quality but poor audio quality is unforgivable especially in a music battle.
  • Whatever Baby Face did he did it right. His sound was crystal clear like he was playing in your bedroom but Teddy Riley often couldn't hear him
  • Business takeaway: Video is a powerful tool for your business but if your audio is consistently crappy it will annoy people and turn them off.

8. Give free value up front and the revenue will roll in regardless

  • It was reported that initially, Teddy Riley wanted to be paid for the performance.
  • There are easier ways to monetize the audience.
    • Ask for a donation
    • Sell some merch
    • Sponsorship deals
  • Monetize off the backend
  • Business takeaway:  Good content always has a payback even if it's deferred. Don't step over dollars to pick up dimes. Backend deals that arise from free content are often more lucrative.

9. A good story makes the offer

  • Despite the technical glitches both Riley and Baby Face surrounded the songs they dropped with origin stories.
  • The context to the song made the actual hit more memorable
  • Business takeaway: Storytelling increase the perceived value of your offer.

10. Haters gonna hate. The culture's gonna criticize

  • The memes floating around are enough to bruise egos. But the IG battle rematch has been rescheduled
  • The critics that said they are done will be back to watch. They haven't got anything else to do anyway on a lockdown
  • Business takeaway: Vulnerability sells. Never let a temporary setback deter you from your goal. If at first, you don't succeed, try, try again. If your product is amazing they'll be back.

When you're committed to serving your audience at the highest level a temporary technical setback will never stop you from dusting yourself off and getting back into it.

The IG battle has been rescheduled, the numbers are predicted to be bigger than ever.

You don’t have to be an R & B fan to appreciate their work.  Many people don’t even know just how many hits they are behind. If you’ve ever hit the dance floor in the last four decades chances are that you’ve rocked to a track they’ve contributed to.

From Madonna to Michael Jackson they’ve worked with them all.

  • How many of us can say we’ve created a whole new genre as Riley did with New Jack Swing?
  • How many of your kids were conceived to a Baby Face Ballad?

Honor where honor is due.

I can't wait to shake a leg to Riley and Babyface classics in Club Homebound. 

I hope to catch you there too!



50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.