Teyana Taylor will silence her critics when she releases her debut album VII on November 4. The project has been years in the making for the Harlem singer, who parted ways with Pharrell’s Star Trak/Interscope Records and signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music in 2012.
And no one could be more excited than Teyana herself. Rap-Up TV caught up with G.O.O.D. Music’s First Lady backstage at August Alsina’s “Testimony Live” tour in L.A. to discuss the long-awaited release.
“It’s kinda hard because people don’t really know the politics behind the industry,” said Teyana. “Everybody is being impatient and so am I. I’m like, ‘I need answers now.’ I finally got an album. I’m just as excited as everybody else and I just hope everybody likes it.”
She has enlisted production from Bangladesh, Harmony, Boi-1da, Hit-Boy, and The Order, with appearances from Pusha T, Yo Gotti, Fabolous, and her friend Chris Brown, who appears on “Do Not Disturb.”
“It’s one of those slow animated songs,” she said of the Breezy duet, which she has been performing on tour.
Unlike her past situation, Kanye West has given her the freedom to do what she wants. “He definitely gives you that creative control. He kinda lets you do you and then you take your project to him,” said Teyana. “You have it all laid out and then he puts the icing and the candles and blows ‘em out and everything else.”
But she won’t hand in the album to Kanye until it’s perfect. “I’m a perfectionist just like him. He always says I’m a female version of him.”
In keeping with the title, VII will be packaged with seven visuals, which she plans to tease in the weeks ahead.
Common, J. Cole, and Drake have all co-signed Jhené Aiko, and now Chris Brown is calling on the in-demand songstress. The two engage in some “Drunk Texting” on their intoxicating duet off Brown’s new album X.
With her own album Souled Out in stores, Rap-Up TV caught up with the L.A. native to find out how the collaboration came to be.
The singers have known each other since Chris released his 2005 debut, and things happened organically. “For me, I like to just do things that I really like. If I like the song, then I’ll do it,” said Jhené.
“They sent the song and it was easy. I just had to go in there and sing it with him. I actually recorded it in this tight schedule, but I really did enjoy the song and I felt like people are really gonna be singing this. They’re gonna relate to the song ’cause everyone of drinking age can relate to drunk texting.”
She’s been a CB fan since “Run It,” and admires his perseverance. “I’ve always been a fan of the music and just his drive to keep going despite everything that happens, and I feel like I can relate to that because it happens, especially in this industry,” she explained. “They’re gonna come after you, time and time and time, you’re always gonna be your mistakes in people’s eyes. But it’s not about that. At the end of the day, it’s about the music.”
Check back for more from our exclusive interview with Jhené next week.
Elijah Blake has penned records for everyone from Britney Spears to Mary J. Blige, but on September 30 he will step into the spotlight with his own EP Drift. The majority of the eight tracks were produced by No I.D., with contributions from J. Cole, Pop & Oak, and Illangelo.
Rap-Up TV recently caught up with the multi-platinum singer-songwriter, who is managed by Roc Nation, to discuss the project.
“You can expect No I.D. at his finest. He’s pushing it,” said Blake, who is signed to No I.D.’s ARTium imprint on Def Jam. “I think everybody’s heard him do stuff for Common and Kanye, like the edgy hip-hop stuff, but this time they’ll really get a glimpse of No I.D. doing some cool, progressive R&B, soulful production.”
Cole produced and is featured on “Vendetta,” which leaked last year. “[Cole] felt like the song didn’t get the proper treatment, so this is our way of putting it back out there into the universe and letting people hear it in the best way possible,” said Blake.
When he’s not working on his own music, he’s been in the studio with Usher, Keyshia Cole, and Rihanna.
“She’s always on some new stuff. She never even stopped recording,” he said of the “Diamonds” singer. “I think right after the last album dropped, she was in the studio two weeks later. They ain’t even know what album they was gonna put it on, but that’s why she’s probably one of the best of our generation.”
Check out the Drift cover art and tracklisting below.
French Montana is just getting started. With his new single “Don’t Panic” burning up the airwaves, the Bad Boy rapper is gearing up for the release of his sophomore album Mac & Cheese (Note: the album is not titled Mac & Cheese 4) this November/December. The Coke Boy recently sat down with Rap-Up TV to talk about his new music and new love.
Since his relationship with Khloe Kardashian went public, French has been the fodder of tabloids and even appeared on “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” So it only made sense to get his girl to star alongside him in the video for “Don’t Panic.”
“It was just like, why would I get a video vixen when I got one of the baddest bitches?” said French. “That’s all it is. It just makes more sense to keep it in the family.”
He has been in the studio with Khloe’s brother-in-law, Kanye West, who is executive producing Mac & Cheese. “Kanye was somebody that I was supposed to sign with when I first came in the game,” said French. “I have nothing but respect for him. He’s a legend, he’s an icon. I just feel like he has that Mac & Cheese sound, that soul food sound.”
French has recorded around 80 songs including the Kanye and Mekanics-produced “Gucci Mane” featuring Rick Ross and Lil Wayne. “We based it on when Gucci went crazy at that one time, just like went bad on everybody. The record’s like when you’re about to lose it—Ross on the hook, me and Wayne. It’s a crazy record. We gon’ blow their socks off.”
He has also worked with Miguel on a song called “Explicit.” “It’s a crazy, beautiful record. It’s both our worlds put together,” he said.
While in the studio with ‘Ye, he heard some of his new music including the single “All Day.” “It sounds incredible. He’s about to have another classic album. He’s grindin’. It’s that sound that everybody missed about [Yeezus].”
In addition to starring in her “Rebellious Soul” musical for VH1, K. Michelle has been putting the finishing touches on her sophomore album and readying a new VH1 reality show. But recently the “Love & Hip Hop” star has been back in the headlines for her comments about Lil’ Kim and Nicki Minaj.
In the last four months, August Alsina has topped the R&B charts with his debut Testimony, won two BET Awards, and is currently headlining his first tour. Rap-Up TV caught up with the 21-year-old New Orleans crooner during the L.A. stop of his “Testimony Live” tour at the House of Blues to discuss his wins including a collaboration with Nicki Minaj on his latest single “No Love.”
He was the one who reached out to Nicki, and it turns out she was a big fan of the song. The two recently shot a video with director Benny Boom.
“Nicki was very, very deeply involved with this one in particular, as far as the video goes,” said August. “She had a vision for it and she really, really is a big fan of the record, which was real important to me because it makes it that much more special.”
While he hasn’t started work on his sophomore album, August plans to incorporate his new experiences. “I haven’t really stepped foot into the studio yet,” he said. “I’m outchea workin’, outchea livin’ a little more, so I guess when I do step in, I have a few things to talk about. It’s just a new world, new life, new livin’, new experiences. I’m gettin’ older. I wanna make sure I take my time with it and actually be in a place where I can put my all and my everything into the studio.”
He recently collaborated with Chris Brown on DJ Khaled’s single “Hold You Down,” and there may be more collaborations to come. “Chris is the bro. That’s the homie,” he said. “I was just with him the other day going through music and I think that type of shit just naturally happens or naturally comes about ’cause we kick it more than anything and then it’s like, ‘Oh, shit ni**a. I got this song. Wanna hop on it?’ We’ve been vibin’ to some shit, so you never know.”
Plus, hear him weigh in on the Michael Brown shooting.