Teyana Taylor: KTSE

Teyana Taylor: KTSE

Many know she’s a capable singer, but for years she hasn’t received the respect she deserves as a musician.

Teyana Taylor: KTSE

Many know she’s a capable singer, but for years she hasn’t received the respect she deserves as a musician.
Teyana Taylor
K.T.S.E.
7.5
underappreciated

Teyana Taylor is a truly special talent. The 27-year-old Harlem-born singer is also an actress, model, an amazing dancer, and one of the most underappreciated artists in G.O.O.D. Music. Many know she’s a capable singer, but for years she hasn’t received the respect she deserves as a musician. Prior to signing with G.O.O.D. Music, she had trouble putting out music through her former label, Star Trak/Interscope Records.

Even if you aren’t familiar with Teyana’s music, there’s a good chance you’ve seen her in dancing in Kanye West’s “Fade” music video. Taylor was also featured on 2012’s G.O.O.D. Music compilation album Cruel Summer. Her first album VII released in 2014 and received favorable reviews from critics, but flew under the radar as far as commercial success.

K.T.S.E., or Keep That Same Energy, is Teyana’s sophomore album and final release of the run five albums Kanye produced during his sessions in Wyoming. On “No Manners”, Teyana starts off the album singing about being in Copacabana with her husband. It’s a brief but solid intro. “Gonna Love Me” is a soulful tune about overcoming the struggles of a relationship. Teyana’s vocals remind of Jazmine Sullivan, which is a testament to how underrated of a vocalist she is. Kanye has a solid verse on “Hurry,” and it sounds like Future contributed to some background vocals as well. The overall production on this album is great -- for the most part.

The laser sounds on “Issues/Hold On” are a bit distracting, but don’t hurt the song significantly. “3 Way” isn’t a bad track, but feels like there’s missing something in the instrumental. Even if they were going for a minimalist approach, the producers could have done more. If there’s one redeemable aspect, Ty Dolla $ign kills every feature, including this one.

While there isn’t a bad song on the album, “Rose In Harlem” distinguishes itself as an absolute banger. Taylor sings about betrayal coming from those closest to you, something she experienced coming out of her hometown. Teyana deserves a serious hit with this one, in my opinion, and hopefully she gets it.

A stark contrast to the track before it, “Never Would Have Made It” is a joyful ode to the people who helped her along her journey. This would’ve been the perfect song to end on, but “WTP” is a fun club track that closes the album out for good. But when you compare it to the soul samples incorporated in the other songs, it doesn’t really fit sonically with the rest of the album.

Because this album is so short, it doesn’t have the margin for error that 12+ track albums would have. Still, Teyana should be proud of her efforts. The biggest things keeping her from joining the discussion of top R&B artists are a lack of more frequently released music, and working with more artists outside of her label. But if she gets to a point where this happens, she’s on the right track.