Kenneth ‘Babyface‘ Edmonds, the singer, songwriter and producer behind some of the biggest hits by Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton and Boyz II Men, made the claim during Monday (April 20) night’s VERZUZ battle that saw him go head to head with Teddy Riley.
VERZUZ is the new go-to form of entertainment that pits producers, songwriters and artists against each other in a rap battle style format on Instagram Live. Competitors take it in turns playing a song from a list of 20 from their discography as fans, friends and fellow artists watch on. A winner is later decided by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz.
One song Riley produced was Jackson’s ‘In The Closet’. After playing the song during the battle, Babyface recalled a story involving Madonna and the king of pop.
Babyface remembered Jackson telling him: “‘Babyface, can you believe she wants me to dress like a girl?'”
Continuing, Babyface said: “He was like, ‘I’d never do that.’ He said, ‘She was trying to change it all up. It was crazy’…He was really mad about it.”
Jackson and Madonna were originally supposed to collaborate on ‘In the Closet’, which featured on the king of pop’s 1992 album ‘Dangerous’. Jackson asked her is she could write some lyrics for it inspired by the title.
“I started writing words and getting ideas and stuff and I presented them to him and he didn’t like them,” Madonna told Rolling Stone in 1992. “I think all he wanted was a provocative title, and ultimately he didn’t want the content of the song to… sort of, live up to the title.”
The song would later be released as a solo record, accompanied by a music video starring Naomi Campbell.