Teyana Taylor Wants You to "Keep That Same Energy" (K.T.S.E.)
Teyana Taylor released her sophomore album K.T.S.E. (or Keep That Same Energy) on June 23.
K.T.S.E. is the fifth and final album in a five-album series of releases from G.O.O.D. music following Pusha T’s DAYTONA, Kanye’s ye, Kanye and Kid Cudi’s KIDS SEE GHOSTS, and Nas’ NASIR.
The First Lady of G.O.O.D. music is the last to shine, a strategic move to give Taylor her moment.
K.T.S.E. follows her first studio album, VII released back in 2014.
The Harlem-born artist has much anticipation for her second album since her first one was such a success. There’s pressure for Taylor to deliver another amazing record and not fall victim to the “sophomore curse”: when an artist’s second album is not great as the first.
Did she dodge the sophomore curse? We shall see...
1. “No Manners”
Taylor kicks off the album by telling the world that although she is married, she will not conform to society's expectations of how a married woman should carry herself. Taylor is out-spoken, tomboyish and feminine (just to name a few).
She’s never been shy to express her love for her husband Iman Shumpert, NBA player for the Sacramento Kings and the unique love they share. They take pride in their relationship because they allow each other to be individuals while married.
“I got a man, but ain’t got no manners.”
Taylor is letting all the folks out there know:
"Yes, I’m married."
"Yes, I’m sexy."
"Yes, I’m a mom."
"Yes, I’m outspoken."
"Yes, I will say and do as I please."
2. “Gonna Love Me”
“And oh, you’re gonna love me. You’re gonna wanna hug me and squeeze me.”
Ever been wrapped up in a love song? If not, this song will hold you like a blanket and freeze time.
“Gonna Love Me” samples “I Gave To You” by the Delfonics (1970). It describes pushing through the trying times in a relationship when everything is not rainbows and sunshine. Taylor’s riffs, runs, and vocals evoke the feeling of longing to work out problems, no matter what.
She sings, “Sometimes we say things that we really don’t mean. We do things in between the lines.”// “I’m sorry if I made you feel less than who you are.”
There will always be trials to work through in a relationship and when it’s all said and done Taylor is questioning will she still be loved.
3. Issues/ Hold On
Taylor strips down emotionally even more as she admits she’s imperfect and that she has daddy and trust issues.
Her velvet vocals glide alongside the light drum beats and background “oohs”, all sounding like a live jazz concert.
She pleads to her love, “So hold on, hold on, don’t let me go.”
In the second half of the song, she admits she gave her body and her love to past lovers who didn’t care for her and so now she’s fragile and vulnerable.
“Gave it up to somebody who didn’t deserve my body. You gon’ have to lend a shoulder, help me kill this hangover.”
The best part comes as the song fades out to the sound of a violin playing. It’s the calm after the storm, as Taylor emptied her soul of her imperfections and is renewed.
It’s a vibe.
The chorus is bold and in your face, quite like Taylor’s personality.
“Keep your eyes all on this fatty. If you like what you see take your hands and grab it. Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry.”
Kanye West jumps on the song and spits a playfully eight lines about admiring a woman’s derrière.
West and Taylor compliment each other as they are two artists who hold nothing back.
If you like what you see, grab it. Simple.
5. “3 Way”
Spicy, spicy, spicyyyyy.
Track five is another layer to Taylor’s truth ride on the album. She reveals the idea of adding another person to the bedroom.
Yes y’all, T.T. holds nothing back and goes into detail.
“Anything for my baby, I’d do some crazy things (yeah). So whatever he want, he can get that.”
Ty Dolla $ign, a.k.a. chorus master lends his vocals and contributes another layer of heat, as if it couldn’t get any hotter.
6. “Rose in Harlem”
*The best song on the album alert*
The naysayers get addressed head-on as Taylor let’s them have it.
Many critics have questioned Taylor’s fashion, singing, dancing, and if she even deserves the accolades she’s receiving. Well, her response is,
“I just bought my third house. No album out and I got ‘em asking ‘What do she do? I do everything. I move everything. Put that on my wedding ring. Put that on my baby name.”
Let ‘em know T.T.!
Growing up in Harlem was not easy breezy. She had to fight everyday to make her dreams a reality. Taylor expresses on the track that nothing was handed to her, she would roll her sleeves up, speak her mind, and fight for what she wanted.
“Rose in Harlem” symbolizes something so beautiful sprouted from pain, struggle, work, and determination. There’s no short cuts to it but to go through it.
7. “Never Would Have Made It”
Gospel sensation Marvin Sapp’s moving 2006 hit “Never Would Have Made It” is sampled for the second to last track.
Sapp congratulated and thanked Taylor for using his song and allowing it to resurface after 12 years since its debut. On his Instagram, he praised Taylor and sent his love:
Taylor dedicated her version of “Never Would Have Made It” to her daughter Junie. Her first born and the little lady she credits to making her life purposeful.
“WTP” stands for “Work This P***y.” Your ears are caught off guard and perk up as the beat drops and words “Work This P***y” is repeated.
It’s the moment of “What did she say?”
The track pays tribute to the Harlem Ballroom Scene, a culture created in the 1970’s by queer people of color. One has to “vogue,” a dance based on model poses because the beat and vibe of the song calls for it.
It's a no-brainer Taylor would include this track as she lives for a great dance moment and a death drop in style.
Listen to the album:
The album was great and beautifully showcases Taylor’s vocal range, without question. However, more tracks are needed.
Adding more tracks just to feel up the track list would not make it better. But to add more heavy R&B tracks similar to “Gonna Love Me” and “Issues/Hold On” would seal the deal.
K.T.S.E. is an appetizer, not the entree.
We all love a good starter to the meal but we need the main course to feel satisfied.
It's not bad, not at all. It's a well-produced body of work by West and his touches of the 1970's R&B samples revive the era and make it appreciated in the present day. With Taylor's vocals added, it's a great match.
Each song's topic of choice has weight and conveyed the universal messages of love, hurt, fantasy, appreciation, and having fun.
A good way to judge an album is to look at how many songs you go back and listen to out of the bunch. Think about y'all. The songs to re-visit are "Gonna Love Me", "Issues/Hold On", "Hurry", and "Rose in Harlem."
More tracks are needed to leave you fulfilled. Taylor leaves us wanting more which isn't all bad but after four years of waiting, one would hope she would fully give us allllll the music.
Most definitely still go and get the album because it is a must listen. The album takes you on a ride from "R&B" to "Spicyyyy" to "Let's Praise the Lord" to "Turn-Up and Vogue." There's a little something for everyone.
Let me know if you feel she leaves you wanting more or not. Don't forget to leave your comments on which songs are your favorite.