The last time we sat down with New Orleans' sassy songstress, Teedra Moses had just penned her name to Rick Ross’ rising Maybach Music Group. Shortly after, she took the realm of underground R&B by storm with her widely received mixtape Luxurious underGrind. But what has MMG’s first lioness been up to since then? In a recent follow-up interview, Miss Teedra was gracious enough to give VIBE Vixen the juice on life as an MMG signee, why it’s taking so long for her sophomore album to drop, and even put in her two cents about that scandalous Rick Ross/Kreayshawn beef.- Stephanie Long
VIXEN: The last time we checked in with you, you had just signed to MMG. What’s it been like since then?
TEEDRA: Since then, I started to work on a mixtape that I released on July 4th of this year, and I released a video for “R U 4 Real”. [I’ve] just kind of been doing a lot of putting myself back out there so that people become aware that I’m still doing music again. I’ve been pretty much been working on getting the buzz back, and it’s been pretty successful. I just released a remix to one of the records that I had from the Luxurious underGrind tape, a remix with Wale on it, and it’s getting really great reception. It’s getting people prepped and reminding them of what I did with Complex Simplicity and making them ready for The Lioness.
Yeah, definitely, and that recent mixtape received a lot of love and positive feedback. When can we expect to get the album?
The situation with the album is that I make songs, then I wanna do something else. I have four songs that have never changed. Now I have a total of 10 songs that make up the album, and there’s a couple more I’m working on. But the thing with the album is just when the label is ready. I can’t push before the label, you know what I mean? So what I do is just try to make sure I’m ready. I’m always ready and do my part to create the buzz to make it a priority to put the record out.
For sure. Do you feel pressure to make this album perfect since Complex Simplicity came out such a long time ago?
No, I don’t feel a pressure to make it perfect. I just feel a pressure to make it a press-play kind of album. I just feel strongly about making it something that stands out. Perfect? I don’t even know what that is, but I just really want it to stand out to me. That’s the hardest part, getting me on board like everything is good. I almost didn’t put out Luxurious underGrind because I was like, ‘Ughhh, this is just not good enough,’ but I had to step away from it and go back and listen to it and say ‘No, no, this is good, let’s go!’ So that’s kind of how I have to do it sometimes, but I’m not trying to be perfect. I don’t think there is such a thing.
Okay. Are there any curveballs on this album or anything that will have the fans significantly surprised?
I’m influenced by groups like Kings of Leon. I’m influenced by groups like Little Dragon. I’m influenced by people like Bob Marley. Everybody knows my sound. It’s clear; that’s why I stuck to it. But with this album, because it is an album and because I’ve done these records always doing my sound, I’m trying to come with a little influence of different things that my ear intakes. For instance, the “Another Luvr” track from Luxurious underGrind, it’s a little bit of a different rhythm for me because I’m just trying to take from what I’m listening to at that time. At that time, I was listening to the Midnight Marauders album. On The Lioness, I'm taking from things I listen to. “Ritual Union” is one of my favorite songs from Little Dragon. I love how that song is so soulful and soft, but it bangs and it makes you move. So I listen to records like that and say, ‘I wanna take that formula’ and make a record. It’ll be different than the regular two-step that you’re used to hearing with my records.
I was on the compilation album, but I came into the situation when it was almost done.I flew out to New York and just did some vocals on some records, I did a hook on a couple records, but I didn’t really do a song because it really was a rap album. And I’m not the kind of person that will force myself into a position, you know? It has to be organically done, and I just had to play my position. One of my favorite records is the first record, “Self Made." I’m singing harmonies, and I feel that I’m a really good arranger and I use my instrument well. I think that’s a perfect example of me putting my impact on a record without me saying one word. I was on there, but I wasn’t on there in the sense of having a whole record or a whole verse. We tried some of that, but it was just kind of forced. I’m not into that. It’s not about quantity; it’s about quality, and I think the places where I was placed on a record were in quality places where my voice was highlighted.
Tell us one thing you’ve learned about or from each of the guys since signing – Ross, Meek, Wale, all of them.
You know what I learned? They’re very hungry, and they’re very competitive. They don’t sleep; they just work, work, work, work, work. They try to consistently make music, and it’s really inspirational to me. They’re not dominating rap music because of some fluke; they really put in the grind. I look at Rick Ross, and he really amps everybody up to just go out and do a great job, so that’s kind of what I take from them.
That’s what’s up. Audra The Rapper is known to be an affiliate of MMG. What’s your relationship like with her?
You know, I’ve never really talked to Audra. We’ve talked on Twitter a couple of times, but I just liked her off rip. I don’t know her too distinctively, but I like Audra because she just says what she wants to say. We were supposed to work together, but it never has panned out. I haven’t had the chance to make a close relationship with her, but I think she’s talented and I like her personality. She also works hard. I’ve always admired people paving their own way. I fuck with her.
Dope! So final question, and I have to ask, what’s your take on the whole Rick Ross and Kreayshawn beef? Because I know they got into a little something backstage at the VMAs.
Girrrl! [Laughs] I didn’t know they had beef. I’ve heard of Kreayshawn, but I really don’t know who she is like that. I really don’t think Ross is affected, though – I can tell you that part.
[Laughing] Okay, well is there anything you’d like to add?
Nah, man, I’m here, I’m working hard, I’m prepping for a really good sophomore album to finally, finally come out. And in case people missed the July 4th release of Luxurious underGrind, I would ask them to please go download it at www.teedramoses.net [Laughs]