Sade & R&B Mosh Pits: A Look Inside Teyana Taylor’s Album Listening Party
Teyana Taylor’s long-awaited sophomore effort, Keep That Same Energy, stands to be one of this year’s standout R&B album. The album brought Kanye West back to his early days of working with R&B stars (ie: Keyshia Cole, Syleena Johnson) and will give the singer’s fans more jams for the summer.
As the final album in the G.O.O.D Music summer 2018 gauntlet, the live streamed listening party took place in Los Angeles on Thursday (June 21). On a lot designed to bring the singer back to the streets of New York City’s Harlem, food trucks for pizza and halal lovers were stationed on the “corner” of 140th and Lennox, with a crazy amount of NYPD cop cars strategically placed around like decorations. With no music serving as a backdrop, attendees sang classic NYC tunes like Lil Mama’s “Lip Gloss” and DJ Webstar’s “Chicken Noodle Soup.”
New York transplants weren’t impressed, but Cali cool kids were just happy to sit on a “brownstone.” The NYC aura changed into a music playground once we headed to a soundstage to jam to the album.
On a first listen, KTSE is what modern R&B dreams are made of. The singer’s stories of love are confident, boastful and energetic. Tracks like “Hurry” featuring Ye showcase Teyana’s ability to create turn up tunes while “Hold On” pushes the listener right onto Feelings Boulevard.
Between the celebrity cameos by singers Sevyn Streeter, Monica and Melanie Fiona, the anticipated event was an R&B party any soulful kid would thoroughly enjoy.
Here’s a rundown of what happened below.
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) June 22, 2018
1:30 pm: Arriving in Los Angeles feels like I just took a five-hour flight to the other side of Brooklyn, N.Y. It’s cold, people give bad directions and Uber drivers get lost with a GPS. I decide to take a regular cab to a friend’s house. After a 45-minute conversation about life, my cab driver buys me a bouquet of roses from a guy on the corner of Ocean Avenue.
LA finna be a breeze.
5:38 pm: The directions to Teyana Taylor’s listening hits my inbox. They say to get there at 9 pm, but given my luck at Nas’ jam session last week, I plan to get there at 8 pm instead.
8:30 pm: A Lyft mishap lands me 30 mins past my plan. Shared rides aren’t really working out for me these days.
8:41 pm: Carrying the same energy as the other G.O.O.D Music releases, a shuttle bus takes us to the actual location of the event at Universal Studios. While looking out the window, I peep we’re coming up on “Steven Spielberg Blvd.”
After passing a Jaws set-up, we arrive on a lot revamped to look like Harlem. There are food trucks and an open bar, but the merch truck has everyone’s attention.
9:00 pm: I run into some friends who are Jewish. They wonder why Teyana’s gear has their star on it.
9:15 pm: As the drinks start to flow, everyone realizes two hours in that there’s no music playing on the lot. Instead, conversations about the BET Awards fill the air.
9:45 pm: Teyana Taylor arrives with her lovely family, crew and VH1 cameras in tow. Even though the live stream for Keep That Same Energy is being played on Twitter, it looks like this may also be on the next season of her reality series Teyana and Iman. Celebrities like Nelly, Sevyn Streeter, Melanie Fiona, Karen Civil and Tami Roman are starting to trickle in.
11:30 pm: Kanye West arrives with Kim Kardashian, Lala, Meek Mill, Migos, 2 Chainz, Desiigner and more Def Jam family members. Many begin to wonder if the listening will take place outside, but we eventually walk over to a soundstage nearby. There are red beams of light shining from the ceiling and smoke billowing from the floor. I feel like I’m in an R&B music video.
12:00 am: The album finally starts to play. It has the aura of the sounds of today, yesterday and what’s to come from the genre. Teyana’s voice on the opener “Manners” is demanding, yet soothing at the same time.
“Rose in Harlem” and “Gonna Love Me” show off Teyana’s range, as well her ability to be a purveyor of the many levels of love. The album’s closer “Never Would Have Made It” has a perfect sample from Marvin Sapp’s “Never Would Have Made It,” making it a somber moment for the triple threat as she counts her blessings.
I’m starting to think “Issues/Hold On” has to be one of my favorites from KTSE. The used sample is Sade’s lovely classic, “By Your Side.” Towards the end of the song, I hear “You think I’d leave your side baby/ You know me better than that.”
I’m in knots.
So far, the only features heard are Ye on “Issues/Hurry” and Ty Dolla $ign on “3Way.” While there were reports that Ms. Lauryn Hill was apart of the album’s interlude, I don’t hear it.
This tweet feels more real now.
12:40 am: As the album comes back around for the second time, R&B mosh pits start to form. There’s a little bit of everything in the circle: two-stepping, grinding and some well-thought-out choreography.
12:55 am: On second thought, “WTP” will more than likely be the breakout track from KTSE. It’s clearly geared towards the vogue-kids of the world, the track calls for heavy dancing, voguing all-out fabulosity.
2:30 pm: The sun is shining and KTSE hasn’t hit streaming platforms yet. On the upside, I accidentally photobombed Kim and Kanye.
LA was really a breeze.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect the correct song titles.