Illustration for article titled 10 Pieces of Unsolicited Advice for Teddy Riley for His Rematch With Babyface (Using Songs He Produced)
Photo: Bennett Raglin (Getty Images for Essence)

I can’t lie, Teddy Riley keeps pissing me off.

Some of it may not even be his fault but he keeps fucking up my vibe in a way that is grating on me so I’m laying my burdens down at his Uptowns. I do, however, want to be clear here: Teddy Riley is a legend. His catalog is impressive and he is responsible for changing black music as we know it. I will forever appreciate what he has done for music and how his music impacted my life. Teddy Riley is a GOAT and musical slander is out of bounds. I actually unfriended somebody on Facebook (over age 35) over the weekend who questioned who exactly Teddy Riley is and why we’re paying attention to him.

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I barely knew that nigga anyway.

So back to my pisstivity. Teddy Riley keeps pissing me off. The first time the battle got postponed it was (understandably) because of, I believe, Babyface’s health. Originally set for Sunday, April 5th, Babyface was either recovering from or currently in the midst of a bout with COVID-19; the battle was literally postponed on the day of the event. While letting us know why the battle got postponed, Teddy managed to lob in the idea that he wanted to do it on his own platform and wanted to do things somewhat differently. Which, ya know, is cute and all but is the reason the thing got postponed because of Babyface’s health or because you decided to change the game in the ninth inning? The way he said it made it sound like the latter. I was pissed then because even though I could understand why he might want to do something different, it also wasn’t a thing he created. And that shit, whatever it was, cost me a Sunday evening event that I had literally scheduled. Like I said, it isn’t rational.

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Well, by now you already know what happened this past Saturday. Even if you didn’t witness the debacle in real time—truly one of those moments I will always remember for the rest of my life—you absolutely saw the memes and/or heard people talking about it. I can’t lie, I was actually mad at Teddy for ruining that event with his shenanigans. He seemed to be #TeamTooMuch from the beginning, with his full band, hype man, dancers, camera crew, etc. That truly crystallized when Babyface showed up, solo, in his studio ready to play music, presumably off of his iPhone, with only some iPhone headphones to hear what was happening on Teddy’s end. I was .38 hot. As the shits were happening, I was writing the “Greatest Roast of All Time” in my head, ready to unleash this effervescent and iridescent piece on the world ONLY to find out they rescheduled the battle...FOR MONDAY NIGHT.

Because I didn’t write my piece Saturday night or Sunday and planned to do it on Monday (today), they’d already announced a new battle so I couldn’t even write a roast. It felt dumb. Gotdammit, Teddy Riley.

Well because my blood is still warm and because I REALLY hope Teddy doesn’t squander whatever meager goodwill he has after leaving upwards of 400k people annoyed and unsatisfied—a staggering number when you think about it in terms of wasted opportunities—I still have some words to get off. But because God ain’t done with me yet and I’m working on me, I decided to offer Ted some unsolicited advice for tonight since I will absolutely be tuning in. Just to have some fun with it, I will also use songs and productions of Ted in order to provide this unsolicited advice.

1. “Let’s Chill”

Teddy, you were doing too much. I’m assuming you know this now. I’m sure you just wanted to give the people a good show and I appreciate that, but in this situation where folks literally have half a phone screen (in most cases) to work with, less is more. Chill out. Relax. Let’s downsize.

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2. “It’s Teddy, ready with the 1,2 checka…”

How about you follow your own guidance and you know, make sure your shit is working ahead of time.

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3. I get that you wanted to do the most, but it’s not “My Prerogative”

Keep in mind that 400k people being over you because you decided to do your own thing one time won’t be as forgiving a second time; you trended on Twitter on Saturday night for all the wrong reasons, wouldn’t it be nice to do so for all the right reasons?!

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4. Before you get really going, ask Babyface, “Is It Good To You?”

We will all be better for it. I promise.

5. You can still “Jam,” just do it solo

Listen, having a person or two present is okay. Folks are holed up with people. Set up a keyboard or something like Scott Storch. Play keys and whatnot, we’ll love that. I know I will.

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6. “Remember The Time” it all went bad?

Yeah, do the opposite.

7. “Groove Me”

Babyface’s entirely chill demeanor is going to be a hard thing for you to compete with. Folks already have you down 3-0 and Face claimed to not even know you made two of the songs you played. You’re gonna have to get to that good shit and get us at home grooving!

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8. You know why we’re all here watching? We want to appreciate you for the “Joy” you all brought us.

Remember that and keep it fun and light.

9. If you play them “Rumpshakers” we’ll all be happy

That’s really why we’re here.

10. If you keep it fun, you can “Make It Last Forever” with your fans and maybe all will be forgiven.

Memes though, they will also last forever.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.

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