Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Planet Called Harlem

It is not lost on me that a likely reason Teyana Taylor was signed to Star Trak at such an early age is because, not unlike her boss Pharrell, she is an advocate for skateboarding, rides BMX bikes, and has an eclectic (some may call it masculine) style of dress. And oh yeah, both can hardly carry a note. (Another unproven theory is that Teyana's parents, who are obviously loaded after we all witnessed them give her a very expensive Range for her 16th birthday, knew of Teyana's limited vocal capabilities and strong-armed/bribed Pharrell and Chad into signing her and putting out her album since it couldn't happen any other way...)

But another thing they both have in common is that they somehow, almost miraculously, turn their weaknesses (in this case, their voices) into their strengths, and can make a song sound good. But of course the reason those songs sound good is because, aside from the iffy voices, they have one thing in common -- Neptunes production. They also both sing and rap, and make it work.

Her lead single was produced by Jazzy Pha -- he of the ever-so-annoying "ladies and gentlemen" announcement on each and every song to give notice to the listener that he produced the track -- and while the song is catchy, it's missing something. It's almost too pop and girlie for Teyana, who dresses and speaks like a male. Still, I'm partial to Harlemites, so here is her video.

But some other songs have leaked, too, and these possess the Midas touch -- Neptunes on the boards. Please do a compare and contrast and let me know which ones you're feeling most.

Her album drops at some point next month, so I urge you all to support it by either buying a single or the album. For your listening pleasure:

Traffic Stop (my personal favorite)

Leave Me (vintage Neptunes)

Fly Away (decent, still a nice track)

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