Babyface Hosts A Tiny Desk Concert For The Ages

One of the greatest songwriters of all time, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, decided to flex his resumé for Black Music Month. The icon and co-founder of LaFace Records hosted an NPR Tiny Desk concert that stands among the best. In a special performance, the musician, singer, and creator laid out his pedigree in grand style—and he brought some high-profile friends along too.

Babyface begins the set with one of his earliest hits, The Deele’s “Two Occasions,” the group where ‘Face first linked with partner Antonio “L.A.” Reid. He then transitions into his own “Whip Appeal.” Next up, the Grammy-nominated Chanté Moore joined Babyface for the complicated ballad, “Superwoman” — as performed by Karyn White. Moore sings from the upright mic, while Kenny plays the keys with his band. Then, Babyface, Moore, and that band morph into a stellar rendition of Madonna’s “Take A Bow.”

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The ensemble moves into Mary J. Blige’s “Not Gon’ Cry,” a slowed-down and powerful rendition completed at one verse. From those 1990s, Babyface performs “Can We Talk” with a guitar in hand. Avery Wilson, who had performed the Tevin Campbell song in an online challenge, handles the vocals well. Tank, who also competed in the challenge, plays along with his counterpart. It’s Tank who then hops on lead for “Change The World,” Babyface’s hit alongside Eric Clapton. The four-time Grammy-nominated singer smashes his rendition. They then move to Fallout Boy’s “Thnks fr th Mmrs,” with Babyface freaking some electric guitar chops at the end.

The set continues with two Boyz II Men classics, “I’ll Make Love To You” and “End Of The Road.” The nearly 30-minute concert closes in style with Whitney Houston’s “Exhale (Shoop Shoop).” “Whitney, she’s one of the greatest artists, ever,” he proclaims, while recalling the origins of the song—which he performs in his own, powerful way. The keys and vocals add so much emotion, given all that has transpired since the song released.

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Babyface recently released an extended edition of his 2022 album Girls Night Out. Last year, Tank released R&B Money. In 2020, Ambrosia For HeadsWhat’s The Headline podcast weighed in on ‘Face’s Verzuz battle with Teddy Riley.

#BonusBeat: Earlier this week, The Gap Band’s Charlie Wilson hosted a stellar Tiny Desk: