Teyana Taylor revives old school-soul icons and reggae vibes (with a helping hand from Kanye…)


Following the release of her debut cassette tape ‘VII’ in 2014, becoming a mother, and navigating the world of reality TV, Harlem-born R&B singer-songwriter Teyana Taylor returns with a suprise track for her second album ‘K.T.S.E.’

‘K.T.S.E.’ (Keep That Same Energy) is a slick 23 minute blend of contemporary rhythm & blues and old-school reggae/soul samples, not to mention, the last of Kanye West’s 5 weeks-5 albums hot streak, the ‘Wyoming Sessions’, with Kid Cudi, Pusha T, Nas, and Kids See Ghosts


The intimate SZA-Lauryn Hill vibes of K.T.S.E. echo in the album’s frisky premier track ‘Hurry’. In tune with her Trinidadian roots, ‘Hurry’s’ chilled out guitar strings and melody (with a surprise 7 seconds of heavy breathing) feature a playful Taylor longing for her fictional ‘zaddy’ (West); with Kanye offering a snippet of his own signature rhyme and flow.


Teyana Taylor - Hurry Ft. Kanye West (K.T.S.E.)


Taylor’s ode to old stars begins with ‘Issues/Hold On’, a du-wop slow-jam overlain with a video-game SFX-infused sample of Billy Stewart’s ‘I Do Love You’, a prominent 60s blues pianist and pioneer of the Chicago Soul scene. The samples don’t stop there, with ‘Gonna Love Me’, a delicate re-work of the Philadelphian soul classic ‘I gave to you’ (1970) by the Delfonics, stealing the show. Randy Cain’s posthumous vocal, mixed with Taylor’s harmonies, is a satisfying formula; the track a groovy portrait of comfort zones and insecurities in love.


Teyana Taylor - Gonna Love Me (K.T.S.E.)


Whatever your opinion of Kanye, his summer output has been prolific, supporting new hip hop/R&B/Soul music with K.T.S.E. and engaging his fan base with old-school soul icons and reggae. In the midst of all this, Taylor’s contribution shines as an unexpected and chilled out end to the mammoth project. Let’s see what Kanye has planned next…

K.T.S.E. is out now on GOOD Music/Def Jam Recordings and can be streamed on Apple Music/Spotify.


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Written by Alex Farrow-Hamblen

Edited by Jaclyn Siu