The April 5 Instagram Live battle between production icons Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and “Rumpshaker” Teddy Riley was postponed to the dismay of many fans who were anxiously awaiting the clash orchestrated by next-generation producing legends Swizz Beats and Timbaaland.
The battle was canceled with little to no explanation but Riley told Charlamagne tha God on IG Live that “Nobody is backing out. Babyface is moving forward, he’s not actually 100%. He’s been sick.”
Let’s hope that Babyface is in god health. He turns 62-years-old today.
When you talk about iconic producers and songwriters and overall musical machines, you don’t get much better than Edmonds, who was ranked number 20 on NME’s 50 of The Greatest Producers Ever list.
We’d be remiss not to acknowledge the sole provider of a Soul Food soundtrack that certified him as a one-man wrecking crew. The Whip Appeal crooner is also responsible for crafting the careers of some of the most iconic acts in the world.
We’re familiar with his signature vocals, but it all started with the brilliant writing and producing music that contributed heavily to the pivotal sound of R&B that influenced the genre for decades to come.
Rise Of A Superstar
Born in Indianapolis (Naptown), Indiana to Marvin and Barbara Edmonds, he is the fifth of six brothers.
As a youngster, Edmonds would play with funk legend Bootsy Collins, who gave him the name Babyface because of his youthful appearance, and the name stuck.
He and partner LA Reid founded LaFace Records with TLC, Usher and Toni Braxton rounding out its early roster in 1989. TLC’s second album, “CrazySexyCool”, on which he produced and wrote many of the hits, sold 7,600,000 units in the United States.
The group would eventually become the all-time best selling album by the United States born female group.
Overall, they sold 75 million records worldwide under his guidance. That diamond touch continued with Toni Braxton, who went on to sell 10 million units with her first two releases, the self-titled Toni Braxton and Secrets.
He continued contributing to contemporary sounds writing and producing music for the likes of Bobby Brown, Karyn White, Pebbles, Paula Abdul, Michael Jackson, and Sheena Easton.
One of his earliest hits was “Slow Jam” by Midnight Star, which he wrote. He performed with the group Deele until 1988, when he and LA Reid left the group.
Edmonds dropped Playlist in 2007, an album of eight cover songs and two original works that was the first set released on the re-launched Mercury Records imprint.
The list of individuals who he has helped create music with is as long as it is diverse; Carole King, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Faith Evans, Al Green, Beyoncé, Diana Ross, Sheena Easton, Toni Braxton, Michael Jackson, Michael Bolton, Paula Abdul, Eric Clapton, Pebbles, Tevin Campbell, Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston, Brandy, Mary J. Blige, Tamia, Shola Ama, 3T, Sisqó, Dru Hill, Fall Out Boy, and that’s literally not even half of them. Do your googles and bless your playlists with a true R&B pioneer.