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Babyface vs. Teddy Riley finally happened—and it was the hilariously epic fail we all needed

Twice delayed, the battle turned out to be one for the history books, though surely not in the way the two musicians intended.

Babyface vs. Teddy Riley finally happened—and it was the hilariously epic fail we all needed
Teddy Riley (left) and Babyface (right). [Photos: Paras Griffin/Getty Images (Riley); Greg Doherty/Getty Images for Entertainment Studios (Babyface)]

By now, many of us are well into our quarantine entertainment routines, over a month deep into what feels like eternity. We might not always know what day it is, but at least creatives have figured out how to keep us entertained via Instagram Live.

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Enter the producer battles.

Swizz Beatz and Timbaland led to #Verzuz, which brought us RZA vs. DJ Premier. They were supposed to be followed by Babyface vs. Teddy Riley on Sunday, April 5, but it got pushed back to last Saturday. But people’s hopes were dashed when Teddy could not get his sound together—that’s when this entire situation became a saga. He had several mics set up, a band, and a hype man, and not only was it distracting, but the mics created an echo that made it impossible to enjoy the music. Neither Teddy—who came off like a Luddite attempting to use IG Live for the first time—nor any of the people in the studio with him could figure out how to get the sound together, so after about two songs, he and Babyface postponed to Monday.

The face-off was nothing short of epic—though perhaps not in the sense that the two ’90s superstars had intended.

It was supposed to start at 8 p.m., but it took about 20 minutes for Teddy Riley and Babyface to get connected over Live. It seemed like Teddy had a bad internet connection, but after a few unsuccessful attempts, he was up and running. When Teddy explained to Babyface how to pin a comment, people got in a festive mood. The “uncle using technology for the first time” jokes were abundant, but fans finally got what they were looking for.

Things went well for the most part, as Babyface and Teddy Riley played hits they’ve created for Janet Jackson, Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick, Toni Braxton, Guy, and more.

There is no denying that both men are musical geniuses, but tech isn’t their bag. After a little over an hour into the battle, Teddy Riley revealed that his battery was at about 8%—and there was no charger in sight. There is also the fact that IG didn’t seem to be able to handle the more than half a million people who were attending.

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Deep sigh.

The inevitable happened. Teddy’s battery died, leaving Babyface alone. People demanded that Babyface keep playing music anyway. He said he felt bad since Teddy wasn’t there but pulled out his guitar and blessed us with some music. Teddy found his way back into the chat, but he and Babyface could no longer connect. At this point, it seemed like Instagram would not allow their connection attempts to go through. Teddy then tried to get people to go back and forth between his page and Babyface’s page separately so that the battle could continue, but no self-respecting proficient IG user would do such a thing, so Babyface was declared the winner by default (in the comments).

It was a fun night for the most part, but fans were still robbed of the full scope of both men’s talents. And at this point, it’s time to move on.

The internet had jokes aplenty. Here are some of the funniest:

Must-watch comedy

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My Fav Sitcom.

A post shared by Questlove Froman, (@questlove) on

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The score card

Uncle jokes

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Babyface throws shade

Teddy does the most again

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Tyrese’s glorious misspelling

When Babyface blessed us with his guitar

The end

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