What a bittersweet ending this album symbolizes. For five straight weeks, Kanye West has provided us with some of the most unique/intriguing hip hop albums this year, showing us his ability to think outside of the box when it comes to making music. Hopefully his style inspires other hip hop artists to do the same (I’m looking directly at you Blocboy JB), and also encourages him to get involved in the making of music with other artists in the game. In the mean time, Teyana Taylor, an artist I believe is truly talented, gets her chance to impress fans with her newest effort, and since Kanye is involved in its making, I’m expecting something great.
HONORABLE MENTION. WTP
I’m not the biggest fan of this track, and definitely don’t think it’s one of the top songs on this album, but I do think it contains a sound that Teyana can definitely excel in. It almost feels like a remix to “Fade,” and we all know that the reason why that song went from decent to classic is because of Teyana’s performance on the music video. Why not let her get a stab at tackling a semblance of the song on her album, right?
If you are a straight man and can’t get aroused by listening to Teyana on this song, I recommend setting up a meeting with your family doctor, ASAP.
You know what’s ironic? I feel like the songs that feature Kanye on these Wyoming projects are the ones that are the least dynamic. Nonetheless, I like the chemistry between him and Teyana on this simplistic gem, as Teyana plays this seductive woman that wants to get broken off as soon as possible, while Kanye plays this brash individual that doesn’t mind being provocative on his respective verse. If you ask me, you probably get the least amount of effort out of Teyana on this song, but it’s all good, she needs to pace herself anyway.
If Teyana doesn’t get sex in the next five minutes, she will implode.
4. NEVER WOULD’VE MADE IT
That’s funny, I never thought Teyana would’ve made an album this good, either.
“Never Would’ve Made It” feels like a big thank you from Teyana to her fans, family and stockholders. It has this bright and sunny instrumental, and some pretty deep lyrics that has her talking about learning from her mistakes and becoming a better person. In the grand scheme of her career, this song makes perfect sense, which is why I think it is key to understand the backstory of her career to fully enjoy it.
3. ROSE IN HARLEM
“Rose In Harlem” is a grittier version of “Never Would’ve Made It.”
“Rose In Harlem” is easily the toughest track on this album. It has Teyana tackling a myriad of topics such as her career success, naysayers and fake friends. On her verses, she uses that one flow that Fabolous has been killing these last couple of years, and on the chorus, she gives us something that is simple and straightforward. Production-wise, Kanye hooks her up with something that is explosive, but still has this riveting sound to it.
2. ISSUES/HOLD ON
There are plenty of soulful records on this album, but I don’t think any of them are touching this one. Production-wise, Kanye hooked Teyana up with this ‘Summer of 69′ in Harlem’ type beat that has this phenomenal rhythm attached to it. as expected, Teyana spills her guts on the track using this laidback approach that has its moments of passion. But in all honestly, the most powerful aspect of it is its content, as it has her pleading to her man not to give up on her despite her flaws.
I can’t help but think every word Teyana speaks on this track is coming from a real place.
1. GONNA LOVE ME
“Gonna Love Me” is the epitome of good music. It boasts this timeless instrumental that shines when it comes to old school vibes and gentleness. As for Teyana, she showcases her many different vocal pitches on it, making the track come alive with these deep lyrics that revolve around finding the perfect connection with her one and only lover (which I am assuming is Iman Shumpert). If you like both vintage R&B and classic Kanye production, you’re going to love this song.
The only way to give this song the justice it needs is to hear it on a record player.
SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN
1. NO MANNERS (N/A)
2. GONNA LOVE ME (5/5)
3. ISSUES/HOLD (5/5)
4. HURRY (5/5)
5. 3 WAY (4.5/5)
6. ROSE IN HARLEM (5/5)
7. NEVER WOULD’VE MADE IT (5/5)
8. WTP (4.5/5)
Folks, this is a really really good album. I tried to find a flaw in it and felt stupid. As a whole, it has a good level of creativity, timelessness and soul. Production-wise, you can tell Kanye wanted to keep listeners on their toes from the moment you press play on it, as it does just fine morphing into many different styles.
On this album, I thought Teyana confirmed to the people that she is hella talented artist. When she sings on it, she pours her heart out, making sure you feel her words more than you hear them. What I also find impressive about her artistry on it is that she is able to twiddle with her voice just as well as anyone else in the game, seamlessly switching between impassioned and mellow/high-pitch and low-pitch. I feel like she truly lived up to her potential on this project, which in any case is lovely to listen to.
You know what I like most about this album? Majority of the tracks are focused on love, but from many different angles. You might get a track in which Teyana talks about unconditional love, another in which she talks about raunchy love, or something in which she preaches loving thyself. Much like the production, Teyana keeps you on your toes when it comes to content, uniquely finding avenues in traditional sounding R&B to instill some of her spicy personality.
As I stated earlier, this is the last Kanye West produced Wyoming project. In my humbling opinion, I believe it is the second best (Ask me in the comments section which one I believe is the best). I think it has this timelessness to it, is hella experimental, and very high in quality. Granted, it only has eight songs (which is a small sample size), but I thought it was enough to convince you that Teyana is special. I truly hope this is the beginning of major things for the Harlem native.
Quincy is the creator of Ratings Game Music. He loves writing about music, taking long walks on beaches, and spaghetti that fights him back.