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Highlights of the R&B Songwriter Battle: Ne-Yo vs. Johntá Austin; Sean Garrett vs. The Dream


ABC/Richard HarbaughSome of the most acclaimed singers and songwriters in the music industry battled it out this past weekend on Instagram Live, playing classic R&B songs they’d penned over the years. But the recent battle between Ne-Yo and Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Johntá Austin is the best we’ve seen thus far.

Following the epic hip-hop battle between producers Swizz Beatz and Timbaland last week, Grammy-winning producers Sean Garrett and The Dream had a rather intense R&B showdown, tradings hits and insults about whose pen game was stronger, and mentioning Ne-Yo, who tapped his friend Austin for some healthy competition. 

Last night, viewers jammed out to classics from BeyoncéMarioGinuwineKeri HilsonMarques Houston and more.

Ne-Yo’s solo hits included “Mirror,” “So Sick,” “Sexy Love” and “Miss Independent,” but he also played songs he’d written for others, including Rihanna‘s “Take A Bow,” Beyoncé’s “Flaws and All,” and Mario’s “Let Me Love You.”

Austin’s pen game goes as far back as Tyrese’s 1998 hit “Sweet Lady,” “Aaliyah’s “I Don’t Wanna,” Mariah Carey’s “Don’t Forget About Us,” and Trey Songz’s “I Need A Girl” in 2009, as well as Bryson Tiller’s “Don’t,” which samples a Mariah Carey song he co-wrote, “Shake It Off.”

Austin introduced the song by saying, “You know you a legend with young hitmakers sample your song to make their song.” 

Ne-Yo won the battle, and mentioned that he has new music coming later this year, which he’s already teased with the release of his latest single “Pinky Ring.” But Johntá Austin’s contributions to R&B music will never be forgotten. 

You can find the full playlist of the battle on Tidal.

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