Update, April 21: Call it a 4/20 miracle: Babyface and Teddy Riley were finally able to finish what they started weeks ago and hold a full Instagram Live battle last night. First COVID-19 interrupted, then technical difficulties, leading fans to wonder “How Come, How Long” until they’d be able to witness a face-off between an R&B hit-maker and the creator of New Jack Swing. During the April 20 battle, the songwriters pulled out their biggest hits, and Babyface even sealed the deal with an acoustic performance of his own song “When Can I See You.” How’s that for worth the wait?
April 19: Last night’s Instagram Live battle between Babyface and Teddy Riley was maybe doomed to fail from the start. The battle, organized by Swizz Beatz, had already been postponed from April 12 due to Babyface’s COVID-19 diagnosis. When the two began their rescheduled battle last night, they were almost immediately hit with technical issues. An audience of more than 400,000 then watched in awe and confusion as two of R&B’s most legendary figures struggled to fix basic audio issues.
Riley, having misunderstood the assignment, had set up a kind of at-home concert stage that caused audio playback and echoing — Swizz Beatz later commented that Riley was doing too much and that “less is more” when it comes to Instagram battles. Though the two tried to troubleshoot and play through the sound issues, the event was ultimately called off. The livestream lasted for about an hour before Babyface announced that the battle would be postponed once more, saying, “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.”
And Twitter had jokes, of course. Notably, Toni Braxton livetweeted for some of the livestream, and was not impressed. Other famous faces popped up in the comments of Instagram Live, including Tyrese and Adele, who commented, “Come on it’s 2020 we ain’t meant to get what we want.” Well put, Adele.