Teyana Taylor's Sophomore Album Didn't 'Keep That Same Energy' And It's All Kanye's Fault...AGAIN!
I'm not even going to hold you. I'm a huge Teyana Taylor fan and have been, ever since her early My Super Sweet Sixteen years. Having followed her music industry journey, throughout these years, I’ve seen the girl take her fair share of lumps with the hopes that eventually she would get her “time.” Teyana’s second studio album, KTSE (Keep That Same Energy), was casually released on the Saturday morning of June 23rd and, sadly, it’s just still not Tey time. So, how did we get here??? Well...they say in order to understand the present, you need to know the past.
Teyana initially caught the public’s eyes, when she signed with Pharrell Williams’ Star Trak record label in 2007. The magic of Pharrell and The Neptunes combined with her (then) unique hood-princess persona seemed like the perfect recipe for something big. Unfortunately, that big something was never cooked and Teyana’s run with Star Trak had only a lukewarm “Google Me” single to show for it.
While “Google Me” didn’t take off and there was no indication of what was next for Teyana, there was no denying that she had the “it” factor that, even today, continues to be her saving grace.
Teyana strategically used this allure to help grow her fan base, connecting with her fans via social media and endless UStream sessions. Eventually, she would end up independently dropping a promising mixtape and crossing paths with Kanye West. Kanye had worked with Teyana on a couple of projects, but really decided to give her a platform to showcase her vocals on his critically-acclaimed album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The chemistry proved successful enough for Kanye to invest in Teyana as an artist, so he signed her to his GOOD Music record label. Usually, this is the part of the story where everything works out perfectly the artist goes on become a superstar that sells out arenas...
Instead, Teyana goes on to put out an amazing debut album, VII, that garners hardly any mainstream buzz. Granted, this was no surprise since she released only one single and full-length music video to promote it. regardless, the album was nearly flawless and was a breath of fresh air for the R&B genre. with barely any push from Kanye And her label, Teyana continued to connect with her fans by touching the pavement in cities across the country for a modest album tour. I Know, because I went to her show at SOBs, here in downtown manhattan.
Months after the album's release, Kanye took full responsibility for dropping the ball and not giving teyana the pusH she needed to really take off. He vowed to do better by her and I believed him. After all, we now know he was going through a lot of mess at the time. so, I took it for face value. Then some time went by and Kanye started to promote his own album, The Life Of Pablo. With the MTV VMAs right around the corner, word had gotten out that the network was giving Kanye over 10 minutes of air time to do whatever he wanted. Undoubtedly, MTV wanted to capitalize on the rants that Kanye had become known for and he definitely gave them a mouthful.
But, after his rant, THIS HAPPENED:
I was SHOOK! This was definitely a moment for her and it could only get better from here, right?! WRONG.
While Teyana took advantage of the momentum by releasing a workout program, doing Lil' Kim drag and other 90s tributes on VH1, I wanted the music and was patiently waiting on an album. I mean, It only made sense. Sure enough, subsequently Teyana hinted at working on new music and teased that Kanye was producing the entire album. Once upon a time, that was a badge of honor. However, in retrospect, we see that Rihanna truly dodged that bullet.
Fast forward to 2018. Teyana's relationship with VH1 and her following then brought about a reality series featuring teyana, her husband Iman and their daughter Junie. This, For me, definitely meant her album was coming out this year. I was excited for her. Kanye said he was going to make sure he did everything right, this time, so I just KNEW that this album was going to be her "time". Add to that the fact that kanye was releasing all of his artist's albums within the same 30 days, there was absolutely no doubt in mind that Teyana's would kill.
I'm hand producing all the albums I tweeted about. Been chopping samples from the sunken place 😂Pusha May 25th My album June 1st me and Cudi June 8th and Teyana June 22nd and oh yeah...— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 22, 2018
Two months after that tweet and just a couple of days ago, Teyana's release date came and went with everybody wondering what the hell happened. People flooded Teyana's mentions begging for answers, of which she had none. She was just at a listening party for the album the night before, so it didn't make sense. The album was done. Truth be told, based on her retweets, Teyana was probably also confused.
After a botched release date and most of the anticipation dying down, the album slowly started to trickle on to different streaming services and I just sat there disappointed. Not only was the album's release being sabotaged but, as I listened, I began to feel the same way about her music.
In her defense, I will say that was my unfavorable response to KTSE Was at first listen. Since the release of KTSE, I've continued to keep it in my rotation and, While it is an extremely underwhelming follow-up to Vii, tracks like "Gonna Love Me", "Rose In HarLem" and "WTP" have caused the others to grow on me. clearly, I'm a fan and biased so take that with a grain of salt. The general reception of the album, seemed to be a little more harsh. Some claim that the album sounds like a collection of song demos or that it lacks the energy it professes to keep. Still, I don't think it's terrible. It's main flaws are that it shouldn't have been produced solely by Kanye, It should've been at least 12 tracks and each track should've been No less than 3 minutes long. Seriously, my showers last longer than this album.
I'm not sure what's next for Teyana. She says that she will be shooting videos for every song on the album, which is great. Promote these 7 songs, sis. There's honestly No telling if this will change the public's opinion of the project, but Teyana never fails at entertaining. As a fan, I will continue to support Teyana. That's just what fans do. The truth of the matter, though, is that if this is Teyana's Sophomore slump, it's all Kanye West's fault. Maybe third times a charm.