Teyana Taylor

G.O.O.D. Music, 2018


REVIEW BY: Daniel Camp


After four controversial, mostly middling releases from Pusha-T, Kanye West, the Kid Cudi-and-Kanye duo known as Kids See Ghosts, and Nas, G.O.O.D. Music’s fifth Kanye-produced release in five weeks was a head scratcher. Teyana Taylor? Casual fans (including me) had to rush to Google just to learn who this girl was: the dancer in Kanye’s “Fade” music video, wife to NBA player Iman Shumpert, costar of the reality TV show Teyana And Iman…and it turns out, a damn good singer.

K.T.S.E. is conventional soul from a budding young star, an album that only gets better as it goes and that for the first time fulfills the promise of G.O.O.D.’s shorter albums (seven songs apiece for the first four albums, eight for this one) by leaving you wanting more. With some of Kanye’s best beats of 2018 in the background and Taylor’s effortless, smooth voice in the spotlight, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 K.T.S.E. makes for an uplifting coda to G.O.O.D.’s month of music.

In “Gonna Love Me” and “3Way,” Taylor shows that she’s got the chops for the kind of bedroom music that put soul on the map, singing with the kind of sexy delivery that would make Beyoncé proud. “3Way” also continues the long soul tradition of duets with male R&B stars by inviting Ty Dolla Sign along for the ride, to great effect.

Less successful in this regard is “Hurry,” which brings Kanye out from behind the board and puts him in front of the mic for a lazy, uninspired verse that threatens to sink an otherwise fine song. Thankfully, Kanye’s contributions are otherwise confined to the booth, where his genius for production is of great benefit to the album’s cohesiveness. Sprinkling classic soul samples from the Delfonics, Sly And The Family Stone, Marvin Sapp, and other soul icons throughout the album has the desired effect of placing Taylor’s talent in a line of icons, promising the listener that there’s a new star in town.

And that star shines ever more brightly as the album progresses. “Rose In Harlem” offers listeners some autobiography/historiography of Taylor, to great effect, and “Never Would Have Made It” moves from the shallow end of fun, sexy soul to the deep end of love, with an affecting ballad. And while album closer “WTP” is not my cup of tea, I respect its ambition – it’s an experimental, propulsive song you can dance to, a fitting end for this short album not because it says ‘the end,’ but because it promises that Taylor’s career is ‘to be continued.’

It will be debated for awhile whether G.O.O.D. Music’s five-albums-in-five-weeks spectacle ultimately paid off. But we can at least be thankful to Kanye West and Co. for introducing music fans to a bright young talent at the end of that experiment. In this her second album, Taylor shows that she is worth keeping an eye on.

Rating: B

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© 2018 Daniel Camp and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of G.O.O.D. Music, and is used for informational purposes only.