It was in a deserted gym that the world was first glimpsed Teyana Taylor. It’s 2016 and Kanye West’s stratospheric album The Life of Pablo, hits us hard. Among the 18 tracks on the opus is Fade, a fiery tribal blast that uses the base line from Mystery of Love (1988) by Mr. Fingers. In the accompanying video, a muscular Afro-American nymph bounds tirelessly between the dumbbells. Nothing short of ultra-hot, the video scored 100 million views. Today composer, choreographer, actress and model Teyana Taylor is promoting her own album, entirely produced by Kanye West. Together they’re offering K.T.S.E. (short for Keep That Same Energy), an infernal soul machine that multiples high-end and famous samples from the glory days of American R’n’B. And while the record is on everyone’s lips, its not just for the top-quality sounds: Kanye West, in typical fine taste, has integrated the dulcet tones of his wife Kim Kardashian orgasming on one of the tracks…
In 2014, Teyana Taylor released her first album VII, a little R’n’B nugget featuring Chris Brown and Pusha T that slipped effortlessly into the number 1 slot on the R’n’B/Hip-hop charts.
Teyana Taylor – “Gonna Love Me (K.T.S.E.)”
Born in Harlem in 1990, Teyana Taylor worships Janet Jackson and Lauryn Hill. She grew up in the heyday of smooth R’n’B, when the slow jam ballads of Usher, Brandy and R. Kelly dominated the radio waves. Teyana Taylor was only 12 years old when she entered her first talent show, and after working darn hard and entering many more, she finally got signed by Star Trak Entertainment, the American label founded by The Neptunes, i.e. Chad Hugo and a certain Pharrell Williams. In 2014, Teyana Taylor released her first album VII, a little R’n’B nugget featuring Chris Brown and Pusha T that slipped effortlessly into the number 1 slot on the R’n’B/Hip-hop charts. At the same time Teyana Taylor was also discreetly composing for Nicki Minaj, Usher and Chris Brown, and choreographing videos for Beyoncé (most notably the video for Ring the Alarm of 2006). And when she decided to put herself under the spotlight, she appeared in Jay-Z’s video for Blue Magic and on Fashion Week catwalks. Teyana Taylor even has her real TV show with her husband NBA star Iman Shumpert, today playing for the Kings of Sacramento. With a carefully composed entourage, it was her signing to the G.O.O.D. Music label just before the release of VII that really propelled her into the upper echelons of the music industry. Because the man behind that label is none other than the most megalomaniac rapper in the galaxy: Kanye West.
For her new album, she retains her unalterable taste for soulful laments and minimalist guitars, indulging in a recrudescence of iconic samples from the genre.
Kanye West – “Fade”
Hanging out with the N.E.R.D. clique and white-hot rappers from the East Coast could have put Teyana Taylor straight on the highway to hip-hop. But it wasn’t to be. For her new album, she retains her unalterable taste for soulful laments, inevitable seventh chords and minimalist guitars. K.T.S.E. indulges in a recrudescence of iconic samples from the genre: For the Love I Gave To You (1970) by the Delfonics, Because I Love You, Girl (1978) by the Stylistics, and Never Would’ve Made It by gospel hero Marvin Sapp, which she openly uses. Supported by vintage electro pads, a Rhodes keyboard, an Alicia Keys style vibrato and a vibe worthy of Zhane the album explores every facet of contemporary R’n’B. And to crown the lot, she’s inherited the inspiration of Emperor Kanye whose come out of his prolific retirement in Wyoming. We suspect the formidable producer has even integrated an extract from Kim Kardashian and singer Ray J.’s sex tape on Hurry, a theory stemming from Kanye West’s fascination for his wife and her former lover: he already featured lookalike models of the two in his video for Famous two years ago. The real beauty of the K.T.S.E album is its successful revival of a style that’s sometimes perceived as obsolete and corny. Teyana Taylor offers an opus that’s as sober as it is meticulous, enrobed in a remarkable production with a profusion of elitist references.
Teyana Taylor – “Hurry” Ft. Kanye West