Half-way through 2020 and the year has forever become marred by tragic death around the world. Even worse, in the United States the recent murder of George Floyd has reminded us of the injustices African Americans endure on a daily basis in the United States. These continued injustices have sparked nationwide protests against police brutality toward African Americans, demanding change and accountability.
As a white musician writing and performing music that is influenced by black culture, I’d like to dedicate seven straight days of posts honoring some of the black musicians who have inspired me the most.
For day four I would like to honor Teyana Taylor. Unfortunately I didn't get hip to Teyana Taylor until her 2018 release K.T.S.E. (Keep That Same Energy) but I guess better late than never. Don't be fooled though, Teyana has been in my life for a while I just didn't realize it until 2018. By that I mean Teyana was featured on Kanye West's "Dark Fantasy," a track I have probably listened to 100 times. Taylor is also featured in West's music video for his track "Fade" with her husband, NBA shooting Guard Iman Shumpert.
Produced by Kanye West, K.T.S.E. is polished from top to bottom. Every track has the quality, jaw dropping production we expect from West mixed with in my opinion one of the best female vocalists and rappers alive. 2018 was for me one of the best summers of music in recent memory. Don't forget this album came out the same summer as DAYTONA, KIDS SEE GHOSTS, Ye, and Nasir (all produced by Kanye West). Even with all these great albums coming out around the same time K.T.S.E. has stuck with me the most over the past two years.
Even though I'm new to Teyana Taylor she has still influenced me a lot. Her music has such a nice balance of singing and rapping. In many places she does both at the same time (it's harder to pull off than you think). I fell in love with K.T.S.E. and Teyana Taylor because of her flow and authenticity. I really feel she means what she says and her bars seem totally her. I bring this up because I feel like Tayana vastly out performs some of her vastly more popular counterparts, Beyoncé in particular. I mean no disrespect to the queen, but it is so true. You know what else came out in 2018? Jay Z and Beyoncé's collab "Everything is Love" that they released as The Carters. When I listened to "Everything is Love" all it did for me was emphasize how talented Tayana Taylor is. For one there's a lot of stylistic autotune on "Everything is Love" which mask the vocal talent and secondly Beyoncé's bars sound fake and like they were written by Migos (maybe they are?). The album and "Ape Shit" in particular just didn't really sound real to me. It seemed more of like a "I can do it too/hubby wifey power move/clout" type of thing. Long story short imo Teyana > Beyoncé any day.
"K.T.S.E." is a second album of the caliber that any artist would be lucky to have. After going back to listen to "VII" I could tell how far Teyana had come in those four years. She has made me strive to make better melodies and has definitely inspired my flow when I write and try to think of how a verse should. I think her style is cool, I love her voice, and her bars, and I am forever thankful to Billy Gruber for the introduction. Looking forward to "The Album" later this month!
Check out my Teyana Taylor playlist!
To donate to help the protests against police brutality check out this great Rolling Stones article!