Roni

Album: Don't Be Cruel (1988)
Charted: 21 3
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Songfacts®:

  • The third single from Bobby Brown's second solo album, Don't Be Cruel, "Roni" was written by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds with his Deele bandmates, Darnell "Dee" Bristol and L.A. Reid. Daryl Simmons, Babyface's frequent songwriting partner, recalled the story of the song to Songwriter Universe:

    "Kenny wrote this song called 'Roni,' about this girl we met in Florida that loved Kenny... she loved Babyface, but she was too young. We were saying, 'She's a Roni. Man, she's a Tender Roni, you can't mess with her.' So that's how that song came about."
  • Tenderoni is a brand of macaroni that was popular in the 1950s and discontinued in 1981. The word kind of rolls off the tongue, and in 1976 Eddie Kendricks released a song called "Sweet Tenderoni" about a girl who has his heart. On Michael Jackson's Thriller track "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)," he sings:

    Tenderoni you've got to be
    Spark my nature sugar fly with me


    Bobby Brown's "Roni" did more to popularize the tenderoni than any other track, and the word quickly became part of the hip-hop lexicon. Big Daddy Kane gave Brown his due when he rapped on his 1990 track "I Get the Job Done":

    I'm Browner than Bobby so won't you be my tenderoni

    Chromeo and Kele Okereke have both released songs called "Tenderoni," and the word has appeared in tracks by a number of other artists. Some examples:

    "Break Ups 2 Make Ups" by Method Man
    Leave me lonely
    Fly tenderoni but you phony


    "Hey Ladies" by Destiny's Child
    Been runnin' round here wit' this little tenderoni
    And don't think I haven't noticed


    "Da Da Da" by Lil Wayne
    I could be your Bobby
    Or your only tendaroni
  • Babyface told Songwriter Universe that many of the hits he wrote with LA Reid in the '80s and '90s were stockpiled for years before they saw the inside of a recording studio. "Then you would just retweak ideas," he said. For example, "Roni" was written in 1982.
  • Babyface got "roni" into the lyric of "Can We Talk," the 1993 hit he wrote for Tevin Campbell:

    And just like a roni, you were too shy

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