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R&B icons Keith Sweat, Bobby Brown next up in Verzuz battle

The duo, who have hit records spanning decades, are often seen in the pantheon of the genre’s history in terms of success and influence.

2019 ESSENCE Festival Presented By Coca-Cola - Louisiana Superdome- Day 1 Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for ESSENCE
Verzuz contestant Bobby Brown, a Boston native, is initially known for his time with R&B group New Edition.
Getty Images

Two of the biggest names in R&B music history — Bobby Brown and Keith Sweat — will square off in the next Verzuz battle.

Their battle, sponsored by Essence — an African American women’s lifestyle magazine — is scheduled at 7 p.m. Thursday via Instagram, the Triller app, the Fite TV app, and Essence.com.

The duo, who have hit records spanning decades, are often seen in the pantheon of the genre’s history in terms of success and influence.

Brown, a Boston native, came to prominence first as a member of the R&B group New Edition, signing lead on the 1983 song, “Candy Girl,” as well as “Jealous Girl” and “Mr. Telephone Man,” among others.

Following his exit from the group, Brown launched his solo career in 1986 with “King of Stage,” his debut album, which produced “Girlfriend,” a Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping song. Brown’s career took off with the seven-time platinum album “Don’t Be Cruel,” which consisted of five Billboard Hot R&B chart-topping singles “My Prerogative,” “Roni,” “Rock Wit’cha,” “Every Little Step,” and “Don’t Be Cruel.”

Brown’s other hits include “Humpin’ Around,” “On Our Own” from the “Ghostbusters II’’ soundtrack, and “Thug Lovin’ ”with Ja Rule, among others.

He also frequently collaborated with Verzuz battle contestant, producer Teddy Riley, who is credited with being one of the pioneers of “New Jack Swing,” an R&B and hip-hop hybrid popularized by the aforementioned Brown, Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige, New Edition, Bell Biv Devoe, Janet Jackson, Guy, Jodeci, and R.Kelly and Public Announcement, among many others.

Keith Sweat Performs At The SiriusXM Studios In Washington DC Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for
R&B singer Keith Sweat had a successful run with his first seven solo albums.
SiriusXM

Sweat, a Harlem, New York, native, who has 13 solo albums, has garnered hit singles including “Make It Last Forever,” “Nobody,” “I Want Her,” “Make You Sweat,” “I’ll Give All My Love to You,” “Merry Go Round,” “Don’t Stop Your Love,” and “Twisted,” among many others.

During his first seven solo albums, Sweat, at best, went four-times platinum (“Keith Sweat”), and at worst, “Didn’t See Me Coming,” went gold.

Sweat, a 2013 Soul Train Lifetime Achievement Award winner, later found success with R&B supergroup LSG, consisting of Levert member Gerald Levert, Sweat, and New Edition member Johnny Gill, with “Levert.Sweat.Gill,” a double-platinum album. Sweat is also credited with discovering R&B groups “Silk” and “Kut Klose,” who garnered success with hit singles “Freak Me” and “I Like.”