besides being super fun-loving and ridiculous, one thing to know about me is that i truly stick to my guns. i said what i said and that’s that. however, there are moments when i have to concede.
today is one of those moments.
after a couple weeks of fighting the feeling, i have to admit that life above 14th street isn’t a wasteland 100% of the time because harlem’s own, azealia banks and teyana taylor dropped two of the best albums this year.
there i said it!
after waiting for what felt like a lifetime, “broke with expensive taste” and “vii” superseded all of our expectations and made the wait more than worthwhile. i honestly haven’t stopped listening to either album since they dropped. granted, i’m biased because, in the words of azealia, i be on my black girl shit, but thinking objectively, these bodies of work seal a defining moment in music.
i’ve been in azealia’s ‘kunt brigade’ ever since i heard “grand scam (lyrical exercise)” back in 2011. i copped the “1991” and “fantasea” eps and still have them in daily rotation. with all of the twitter beef and label pushbacks, i never thought “bwet” would ever come, so i kept my babies close. then azealia pulled a beyonce and my phone started going nuts and the next thing i know, i’m weeping and juking at the same time to the new album.
the album opens with “idle delilah” and essentially shoots into the stratosphere after that. zee-zee falls into spanish at the end of “gimme a chance”. she nabbed world famous nodel, theopholis london for “jfk” repping for the hometeam. previous hits “212” (which i kinda hate), “bbd”, “luxury”,and “yung rapunxel” were sprinkled in for the nostalgia. everyone’s fave 2014 single “heavy metal and reflective” came through at the coveted track 7 spot. speaking of singles, unbeknownst to us, the uber amazing, “chasing time”, was the lead single for this album. after hearing about “miss amor” and “miss camaraderie” for at least two years, they finally made their grand appearance. my favorite tracks, “wallace” and “ice princess” reminded me why i fell in love with azealia in the first place.
“bwet” is everything we know and love azealia for…crazy beats, slick talkin’ bars and insanely powerful vocals, but sonically, it’s way more mature than her previous releases. you can tell that she’s spent time on this project and really thought about every detail while compiling each song. the only drawback for “bwet” is that it’s not as rap-alongable as “fantasea” (which is getting a sequel soon!). because of this, i’m not sure if this album will broaden azealia’s fanbase here in the states, but “bwet” fed the fans in the best way. summertime with my butt-grazing braids will never be the same now that “broke with expensive taste” is in my itunes #mood.
q4 – 2014 has been an amazing 4 months for r&b (more about this next week) and teyana taylor is a huge part of this era. we were all intro’d to teyana via mtv for her sweet 16, but since then, most of us were left asking what exactly it was that she did. all of the questioning came to a halt the day “vii” dropped. for those that have yet to listen, teyana essentially outsings a few of your faves and her pen game is crazy (she has lead writing credit on every song). intro, “outta my league” makes it clear from the door that teyana wasn’t here to play games. the world said that november 14th was never going to come, so it’s obvi that teyana, like azealia, worked tirelessly to get everything perfect on this album.
so let’s talk features! chris brown proved to be a perfect collaborator on “please don’t disturb”. most of us remember teyana’s vocal commitment to abstinence, so it’s dope to hear her talking that grown folk talk so confidently (it ain’t rocket science/ it’s simple my n*gga) on this song. internet fave”brokenhearted girl” features fabolous and is the ultimate bodyroll moment for the cuffing season months. “maybe” with yo gotti and pusha t was released over the summer, but i somehow missed it. i’m glad it’s in my life now because it’s my go-to get dressed jam. teyana was able to use the overused trap sound and make it sound super fresh. vidal from the beloved dre + vidal popped up as a songwriter on the album’s only traditional ballad, “sorry”. if jazmine sullivan anything renders you to tears, you’ll love this one! teyana is a true musichead and has two homagefests on “vii”. “dreams” is a female response to biggie’s song of the same name (and the terrible remake french, wale, and ‘nem dropped over the summer) and “business” plays on ginuwine’s classic “none of your friend’s business”. i listen to “vii” in full daily, but if i had to choose my favorite songs, i’d have to give it to “just different”, “request”, and “put your love on”. teyana really puts her vocal versatility and ability to emote on full display on these three tracks.
kanye really hit the nail on the head when describing “vii”. “teyana provides something that’s so r&b, so black, so ‘hood, so missing, so necessary in the marketplace.”
if there was any debate in my assertion that 2014 was year of the real black girl, teyana and azealia through their debut albums silenced it all.
…and to think they rep that questionable world known as above 14th.