Uproxx is calling Baby Face’s appearance on NPR’s Tiny Desk a black-ass musical family reunion showcasing his impact across the past 50 years.
Kenneth Edmonds, widely recognized as Babyface, stands as one of the most highly acclaimed songwriters of contemporary times.
It came as no surprise when the NPR Tiny Desk Concert series reached out to the renowned musician to launch Black Music Month.
Babyface graciously accepted the invitation, delivering an extraordinary performance that served as a heartfelt celebration of his influential career spanning nearly five decades, offering a true embodiment of Black musical heritage.
In addition to his impressive solo repertoire, Babyface has made a significant impact as a producer, collaborating with renowned artists in the music industry.
He has had the privilege of working with some of the industry’s biggest names, including the late Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Usher, and more recently, Ari Lennox.
During his captivating performance, Babyface delighted the audience with a carefully curated setlist that offered a glimpse into his past collaborations.
Supported by the talented vocalists Tank, Chanté Moore, and Avery Wilson, Babyface commenced his set with the timeless 1987 hit “Two Occasions,” originally recorded as part of the group The Deele.
The crowd was then treated to another beloved solo track from Babyface’s discography, as he effortlessly transitioned into the captivating 1989 song “Whip Appeal.”
Known as the woman whisper, when transitioning to Karyn White’s “Superwoman,” which he wrote and produced, Babyface shared how he’s been able to create music from the women’s perspective.
“When I was a kid, I was always falling in love and getting my heart broken,” he said. “So when that would happen, I would write these really sad songs. Then I realized I probably was feeling the same hurt women were feeling.”
The remainder of the set included a cover of Madonna’s “Take A Bow,” Mary J. Blige’s “Not Gon’ Cry,” Tevin Campbell’s “Can We Talk,” “Change the World,” Fall Out Boy’s “Thnks fr th Mmrs,” Boyz II Men’s “I’ll Make Love To You” and “End Of The Road,” and closed with Whitney Houston’s “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” off of the Waiting To Exhale movie soundtrack that Babyface produced.
The band consisted of Babyface on both the keys and, at times, the guitar, musical director Erskine Hawkins II as additional support on the keys, Antoine Porter on the guitar, Walt Barnes Jr. on bass, and Reggie Regg on drums.
Although the series features Black artists throughout the year, this subsegment is dedicated to celebrating their contributions to the art form on a much grander scale. The outlet said, “Together, these artists represent the past, present, and future of Black music.”
Watch the full performance above.