If there ever was an artist whose image completely undermined her music, it is Teyana Taylor. Every time I hear one of her songs, I find myself feeling surprised — at how good it is, but also that she sings (and beautifully, I might add). For some reason, I keep thinking she’s a rapper even though I’ve heard many of her songs.

“Issues/Hold On” is the second single from Teyana’s 2018 album, KTSE, and it’s a soulful ballad about the ups and downs of a relationship. Its video is set in the ’70s and features A$AP Rocky, who plays Teyana’s flirtatious husband. Lori Harvey plays a potential “other woman,” which is quite fitting given her growing reputation as a man-eater.

Tyler the Creator also makes an appearance in the video. Check it out below.

As it turns out, the long-rumored “A No No” remix featuring Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliott and Cardi B was just that: a rumor. Instead, we have one with Stefflon Don, which I didn’t see coming at all; kudos to whoever had the idea. That being said, it is disappointing to say the least — not just because we didn’t get the supercollbo of our dreams, but because Steff’s verse is pretty uninspired.

Besides the Stefflon Don verse, the song is exactly same (which is why that verse needed to impress). Listen below.

In August of 1961, the Marvelettes released their debut single, “Please Mr. Postman.” The group had auditioned for Motown Records (then called Tamla) with this song just four months prior — the original lead singer of the group, Georgia Dobbins, got the song from a friend and reworked it for the audition. Dobbins ended up leaving the group after the audition, and in the months between the audition and the single release, she was replaced and the song was reworked yet again by songwriters Brian Holland and Robert Bateman — together known as “Brianbert.”

“Please Mr. Postman” peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and holds the distinction of being the very first Motown song to achieve that feat. The song has been covered numerous times in the almost six decades since its release and was also a No. 1 hit for the Carpenters in 1975.


PS: The Supremes, who had a rivalry with the Marvelettes, are in the audience during this performance, and the shady cameraman keeps pans to each Supreme’s face.

There’s nothing like a music video that perfectly matches the song it was made for. “Talk” is an understated chune, and its video gives us just enough choreography without overdoing it. And while the video is pretty colorful (and I mean that literally), it is balanced by the bare backdrop and minimal use of props. Khalid (or whoever came up with the treatment) got it just right.

Produced by Disclosure, “Talk” is the lead single from Khalid’s second studio album, Free Spirit, which drops on April 5. Watch the video below.

The video for “A No No” just dropped, and it’s exactly the kind of video an aging pop star would make. And I say that with love.

Set in a subway car, the video features Mariah Carey dressed in a gown while a whole bunch of cool city kids in street wear do a whole bunch of popping and locking. Mariah, of course, is sitting/standing and lip-synching badly the whole time. This video could have been so much more. Check it out below.

Mustard and Migos joined forced for “Pure Water,” which is a certified chune. Mustard gets credit as an artist (despite providing no vocals), which indicates that the song is for Mustard’s next album.

The video features a paintball fight, a fire truck, and lots of plastic jumpsuits. Check it out below.


March is Women’s History Month, so throughout this month, the TBT posts will feature historic songs by women.

This week’s selection is Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy,” which was the lead single from her fourth studio album, Daydream. Written and produced by Mariah and Dave Hall, the song samples Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love” and its iconic remix features Ol’ Dirty Bastard and additional production from Diddy. The remix marked a turning point in Mariah’s career and in pop music at large: It was her first collaboration with a rapper, and due to its immense popularity, established the singer-rapper collabo as the standard for top 40 radio.

The focus of this post, however, is the original version, which is the one I prefer. The ODB verses are dope, but the one major flaw of the remix is that it doesn’t keep the original chorus. The original “Fantasy” hook is one you can’t help but sing along to, and no matter what anyone says, that is the mark of a good song.

The song was so good that it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the first song by a woman to accomplish this feat and the second overall (following Michael Jackson’s “You Are Not Alone”). The song went on to spend eight weeks at No. 1, making it one of Mariah’s biggest hits. And almost a quarter-century later, it still bangs. A sweet fantasy, indeed.

This past Friday, 2 Chainz released his fifth studio album, Rap or Go to the League. Executive-produced by LeBron James, the album focuses on 2 Chainz’s years as a collegiate basketball player — he played at Alabama State University from 1995 to 1997.

The album’s first track, “Forgiven,” features Marsha Ambrosius and opens with a clip of 2 Chainz (real name Tauheed Epps) being announced during his college basketball days. The track touches on the premature death of young black boys living life in the fast lane. 2 Chainz also raps about his arrest for drug-related charges as a high school student, which could have jeopardized his basketball scholarship. The track sounds like something from a Jay-Z album and actually loops a line from Hov’s “Lucifer.”

“Threat 2 Society” is another Hov-like track, with 2 Chainz actually rapping that the beat is “hard enough to put Jay on it.” Unfortunately, we don’t get a guess verse from Jay-Z. However, it’s a solid track that touches on a lot of the same themes on “Forgiven.”

And now for the best song on the album: “Money in the Way.” 2 Chainz is rapping about his drug-dealing past again, but unlike the two previous tracks, he is focusing less on the risks and more on the ends. Produced by Buddah Bless and Jabz, the horn-heavy track will give you HBCU homecoming vibes.

“Statute of Limitations” is what I feared most of the album would sound like. It’s classic 2 Chainz, which isn’t a bad thing, but definitely something I could withstand for more than 10 minutes at a time. And as expected, we get more bars about Tity Boi’s drug-dealing days.

Young Thug provides an assist on “High Top Versace,” which can also be classified as 2 Chainz. It’s the kind of song you have to be drunk to appreciate.

“Whip” features Travis Scott, and sonically, the song is definitely on his turf. It’s the third unremarkable song in a row and you almost want to give up on the album, and then comes “NCAA.”

On “NCAA,” 2 Chainz raps about the exploitation of college athletes, who generate millions of dollars for universities and essentially get paid nothing for it. Yes, some awarded scholarships, but like many others have argued, 2 Chainz says that isn’t enough.

2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar join forces on “Momma I Hit a Lick,” which stays true to its title. Both rappers talk their respective shits about money, success and things of that nature.

Ariana Grande sings the hook on “Rule the World,” which makes good use of an Amerie sample and stands out as one of the best songs on the album. Ty Dolla $ign sings the hook on “Girl’s Best Friend,” another one of the album’s best. The clubs are going to love this one.

“Girl’s Best Friend” is followed by another club banger: “2 Dollar Bill” (featuring Lil Wayne and E-40). The track is a classic Mustard production that will remind you of 2012’s “I’m Different” (also produced by Mustard).

“I Said Me” starts with a few lines from “Favorite Things” (from Sound of Music), but when the beat drops, we hear the melody to Mary J. Blige’s “Take Me As I Am.” The track is another one about 2 Chainz’s weight-moving days, with lines about explaining to his daughter what a drug dealer was (“me” was his response) and how his drug cases were getting in the way of his hoop dreams. The track includes a line where 2 Chainz says he has “no work done like Kendall” — a hilarious reference to Kendall Jenner and how she’s perhaps the only Kardashian/Jenner with the face God gave her.

“I’m Not Crazy, Life Is” features Chance the Rapper and Kodak Black, and is another standout track on the album. 2 Chainz raps about his days as a part-time hustler and part-time basketball player, and how he and his lifestyle chose each other.

“Sam,” the album’s final track,  2 Chainz raps about (and is sometimes critical of) Uncle Sam and his use of tax revenue. The track ends with dubious banter, including a definition of the word “tax,” a rounding up from 37% to 50%, and a retelling of a conversation with Diddy, where Puff says he overpays taxes to be on the safe side.

Rap or Go to the League doesn’t offer a lot of variety from a lyrical standpoint, but it is a decent body of work and perhaps the best album of 2019 so far — granted, we’re only two months in. The lack of variety in lyrics is more than made up for in the range of beats and tempos on the LP, and overall, I think LeBron James might have a future as an executive producer.

Album rating: 7.5 out of 10 stars.

Solange ran up on us with a new album this past week, and the rollout was phenomenal. The album, titled When I Get Home, is a follow-up to 2016’s A Seat at the Table and sticks to its theme of pro-blackness. Sonically, however, it attempts to chart new territory.

The album starts of with “Things I Imagined,” which amounts to a prelude. It’s less than two minutes long consists of Solange repeating the same line for most of the track. The next track is “S McGregor,” a 16-second interlude that features an excerpt of a poem by Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen.

“Down with the Clique” is a jazzy mid-tempo that isn’t necessarily bad, but doesn’t quite jump at you either. It sounds like background music in a blaxploitation movie.

“Clique” is followed by “Way to the Show,” which is arguably the album’s strongest track. Solange offers the album’s biggest vocal performance so far over a beat that almost sounds like a Timbaland production. The track is followed by another interlude, “Can I Hold the Mic,” which features a mid-2000s clip of Princess and Diamond from Crime Mob.

“Stay Flo” — much like “Way to the Show” — sounds like another Timbaland production. It’s very reminiscent of Missy Elliott’s “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” and the ad libs in the background actually sound like Timbo, but it’s actually a Metro Boomin production.

“Dreams” is another track that feels like an interlude even though it isn’t identified as such. The song was produced by Christophe Chassol, Earl Sweatshirt, John Key, Dev Hynes, Jamire Williams and Solange, and will remind you of A Seat at the Table perhaps more than any other on the album. It is followed by another interlude, “Nothing Without Intention.”

“Almeda” is all about black pride and features uncredited additional vocals from The-Dream and Playboi Carti. Produced by John Carroll Kirby, Pharrell Williams and Solange, the song is drum-heavy and I mean that in the worst way possible. It is easily the worst song on the album.

Solange and Sampha reunite on the sparsely produced “Time (Is),” which includes additional vocals from Tyler the Creator and Panda Bear. The song is in keeping with the repetitive nature of most the album, but if you enjoy a piano-driven ballad with a simple melody, you’ll probably appreciate this track.

“My Skin My Logo” is a song that could’ve been great if the entire track sounded like the last minute of the song. Prior to that, we have two rap verses from Solange and Gucci Mane that probably should’ve been shorter. The track ends with what sounds like a climaxing Solange and is followed by yet another interlude, “We Dealing with the Freak’n,” which features a clip of OG sex expert Alexyss K. Tylor.

“Jerrod” is another standout track. It sounds different (i.e. “experimental”) without feeling forced, which is an unfortunate feeling you will get from more than a few tracks on this album. It is followed by “Binz,” co-written by Solange and The-Dream. From a lyrical standpoint, it is probably the most quotable, with Solo sing-rapping that “Dollars never show up on CP time.”

“Beltway” is another interlude disguising as a song, followed by actual interlude, “Exit Scott,” which includes an excerpt of a poem recital by Pat Parker.

“Sound of Rain” is another track that sounds like something Timbaland made, but it is actually a Solange, John Key and Pharrell co-production. On the track, Solange sings that “nobody dress can effeminate” her, which I still don’t fully understand. Overall, it’s an interesting track.

The album’s final interlude (“Not Screwed!”) is followed by it’s final song, “I’m a Witness,” which is short enough (at 1m 52s) to be an interlude. But the good news is that Solange sends us on our way with a beautiful vocal performance.

When I Get Home is a very experimental project, and unfortunately, this is what happens to many artists following up a critically acclaimed body of work. Sometimes, the experiment produces amazing art; other times, it produces trash. When I Get Home gives us a little bit of both, and quite frankly, the hipster-types that live for experimental music will eat it up.

Album rating: 7 out of 10 stars.