Babyface Recalls Toni Braxton’s Unfair Record Deal With LaFace: ‘I Was Put In An Awkward Position’
Babyface is opening up about the shady recording contract Toni Braxton had with his old record label LaFace and revealing the “awkward position” he was put in at the time.
Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds appeared on the Touré Show, where he recalled the hardship he faced as a musician, producer, and executive with LaFace Records. The former Atlanta-based label dominated the R&B scene throughout the late 80s and early 90s, putting out albums from TLC and Usher.
One of the label’s biggest acts was Toni Braxton, Grammy award-winning singer whose first two albums sold more than 15 million records. However, fans may recall Braxton’s legal battle with LaFace after she earned only .33 cents per album while the label raked in an estimated $170 million, course documents show.
Braxton filed a lawsuit against the label after contract negotiations failed and she demanded out of her contract. LaFace filed a countersuit citing breach of contract, which forced Braxton to file bankruptcy.
“I didn’t like the games that would come with being on the executive side where artists could be hurt,” edmonds said of the situation.
“There were decisions made that weren’t in the artists’ favor.”
It was Edmonds’ testimony that helped Braxton reach an undisclosed settlement with LaFace and resuming work with the label as an artist.
“I was put in an awkward position,” edmonds said. “The judge said, ‘I don’t want to ask you as a label, I want to ask you as an artist. Is Toni Braxton’s deal fair?’”
Edmonds recalled admitting how unfair the deal was adding, “If I sold the records that she sold, no question, it wasn’t fair.”
Braxton wasn’t the only artist to experience issues with LaFace. R&B trio TLC also claimed to be broke despite their platinum-selling success in the ’90s. It was part of the behind-the-scenes turmoil that conflicted with Edmonds’ views as an artist himself.
“The whole idea was to help artists. When you get in the business of making records, there are things you won’t be able to do,” Edmonds said.
“You choose one side. I chose to be on the creative side. People get hurt and taken advantage of. I’m not that dude.”