Over the course of the next few weeks, Billboard will be allowing artists behind some of the year’s most notable hip-hop and R&B releases the opportunity to speak on why their respective albums deserve to be crowned the top project of 2018. The next artist to speak on their successful run this year is G.O.O.D. Music hyphenate Teyana Taylor, for her eight-track mini-opus K.T.S.E. — As told to Carl Lamarre
I wouldn’t say KTSE is the best R&B album. I feel like it’s one of the best because I feel like all of us that have came out with R&B music this year have been absolutely amazing. I must say, shit, I listen to a little bit of everybody’s stuff. I’m just more proud of all of us, because at one point they used to say R&B was dead.
When KTSE first came out, it caught everybody off guard because it was so short. It was like, “We waited all these years for an album and you gave us a 22-minute album.” There was a lot of confusion, and it really hit people once all that hype died down. They really got into the lyrics and listened. In a short period of time, it expressed so much. It showed a different side from the first album, a more vulnerable and mature woman side of me.
The topics of discussion were new and creative. That was the dopest part. Just tapping in, zoning out, and getting it done. It was everything, not just one thing. Records like “Gonna Love Me”, “Rose in Harlem” and “Issues” were records that were really, really near and dear to my heart. Those three songs alone, I knew I was definitely going to have one of the best R&B projects out. Because those songs just talk to the soul.
I did “Gonna Love Me” in L.A. at No Name Studios. I was actually filming VH1’s TV-series Hit The Floor at the time. My husband [NBA player Iman Shumpert] was in Cleveland and although he had an injury, he still had to travel with the team. That was some of the toughest times of our lives, because we were apart. Being parents and being newlyweds, it was a lot. When I got into the studio and heard the beat, I was with my writing partners Nova. Shoutout to Nova, by the way, because them girls are so amazing and when we write records, we have conversations first.
At that time, I was going through it. I missed my husband and I missed our baby for him. I can bring Junie places, but he can’t bring Junie to practice and he can’t bring Junie on the road. I felt bad and I was in a really sad place in my life as a wife and a mom. I sat in the studio and talked to my girls. That’s how we came up with “Gonna Love Me.” Any relationship, you know how that goes. Sometimes, you get into an argument because y’all miss each other. Moments like that. Even with “Never Would Have Made It,” another one of my favorites, the second verse was about my daughter, and it was cut off my album. That’s what I kept trying to break down to people: that this album was so personal to me and vulnerable that it was more of the frustration of the beauty of the art that was put into the music was being cut short. I was like, “Damn.”
In the midst of everything that was happening, and me having a non-traditional roll out, it was definitely a little discouraging. I think people took my frustration with the roll out and mixed it with “Oh, she hates the album.” I’ve always made it clear that I loved the album. I was a big part of the writing and the melodies, but everything that was going on, it took the attention away from what was most important, which was appreciating the material that was there no matter what the length was or what the roll out was. The people who really tapped into the album were appreciating it a lot more.
It’s a beautiful album and I was confident that it was one of the top albums of the year. I just wanted to give them my all and give them everything on that album. I’m appreciative of what’s there now. I’m still ready to put out more.