Teyana Taylor is having quite a year.
After giving a rousing Lil’ Kim tribute at VH1’s Hip Hop Honors, G.O.O.D. Music’s First Lady showed up and showed out in the eye-popping music video for Kanye West’s “Fade,” which premiered during the MTV VMAs on Sunday (Aug. 28). Now, she’s opening up about it to Vogue.
“It’s emotional because I’ve been in the industry for so long and I’ve never understood why certain things weren’t happening,” said the 25-year-old singer. “And now I feel like my story, everything that I’ve been through, makes this moment so much more special. Though it took so long for this to happen, I don’t feel like it could’ve happened at a better time.”
Teyana was in the studio when Kanye approached her with the opportunity. “He was like, ‘Yo, you killed the Lil’ Kim tribute.’ And we talked about that a little bit and then I don’t know how we got into a conversation about me and Iman [Shumpert]. I think that really inspired him for the video,” she said. “Literally when I left the studio and went back to my recording room, [a head representative from G.O.O.D. Music] came up to me and said Kanye wanted me to dance to one of his songs—for ‘Fade.’ I was like, ‘Oh my god, you’re lying.'”
According to Teyana, she was nervous about the premiere. “I was literally shaking,” she said, “because Kanye is very secretive when it comes to projects that he’s very interested in. We hadn’t even seen the video before last night. So when I heard that the video was going to be premiering at the VMAs, I was like ‘Oh my god, it’s tonight! Do I look good? Do I look great? Is he going to change his mind and not premiere it?’ At that point I had already told all of my family, but even when he went onstage and I saw him, I thought he might just wind up doing something completely different because you just never know with Kanye.”
After honoring Lil’ Kim and working on Kanye’s video, Teyana is crafting her own new material. “I’m working on a new album,” she said of the follow-up to her 2014 debut VII. “I’m actually trying to drop a new record in about two days. I also remixed the ‘Champions’ song with Kanye, Big Sean, Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz. This video was such a surprise for me; I’m sitting here trying to rearrange everything! I’ll also be a character on The Breaks, which is a show on VH1 about ’90s hip-hop. And now the newest thing on my agenda is definitely to get this [dance workout] DVD going!”