By Kiah McBride
For years the question surrounding Teyana Taylor’s claim-to-fame has been, “what exactly does she do?” To the public eye she’s the well-sculpted Instagram babe with a slew of celebrity friends and a closet full of shoes that would make any sneakerhead salivate. Beyond that her career path has been relatively fuzzy. We knew she had a little voice on her when she hit the music scene in 2008 with her braggadocio single “Google Me,” but nobody took the then 16-year-old’s pop record, nor her career, seriously.
Fast forward a few years later to a revamped sexier image and a G.O.O.D. Music record deal, and the multi-talented singer is out to prove that she’s here to take the R&B world by storm on her newly released album VII, titled for her seven years as a signed artist and for being the numeric symbol of completion.
From the opening track Taylor takes us back to the 90s with a soulful R&B sound. In her signature raspy voice she let’s us know that her love is “Just Different.” She then transitions into a grown-and-sexy vibe, which dominates the majority of the album, in “Request,” alluding to her behind-closed-doors submissive antics with her lover. In case that doesn’t convince you that the Harlemite is more than just snapbacks and J’s, the sinfully sexy track “Do Not Disturb” with bestie Chris Brown hints that the 23-year-old isn’t all wide-eyed and innocent as she appears to be.
Just when you thought the album was going to be all sensual slow jams she hits us with the Island-inspired “Put Your Love On,” and then switches to a more street sound on “Maybe” featuring verses from Yo Gotti and fellow G.O.O.D. Music labelmate Pusha T. On “Dreams” she confidently boasts that “everyone wants a Teyana,” describing herself as a triple-threat singer, actress, and designer.
In the past Taylor has made it clear that she likes to keep her love life relatively private, which she reiterates on “Business”—a modern spin on Ginuwine’s late 90’s hit “None Of Ur Friend’s Business.”
Teyana Taylor certainly validates her place amongst her musical counterparts, bringing to the table a solid R&B album to close out the year. In the words of Kanye West, “Teyana provides something that’s so R&B, so black, so ‘hood, so missing and so necessary in the marketplace.” We couldn’t agree more.
Stream VII and take a look at the “Do Not Disturb” video below.