Teyana Taylor made the most of her precious time on Wednesday night’s (Sept. 12) Tonight Show, lighting up the stage with a gripping medley of songs from her recent K.T.S.E album that swung from tender to ferocious in less than five minutes.
Wearing her own version of a modern Cinderella outfit — a puffy, bright-red, floor-length tulle skirt with a heart-patterned leather jacket and a New York Yankees cap — Taylor mashed up the ballad “Gonna Love Me” and the hard-hitting “Rose In Harlem” while backed by a crack live band.
Starting with “Gonna Love Me,” an R&B love ballad that explores the inner struggles of a relationship and the many things left unsaid, Taylor passionately sang the lines, “Sometimes I don’t think we really say enough/ Why is it so hard to keep in touch/ When we’re laying right next to each other, baby/ We shouldn’t read into things so much/ Overthinking understanding/ Don’t let our feeling, change it up.”
The lights then shifted from a soft blue to a powerful rose-red as Taylor vigorously changed the mood and rolled into “Rose In Harlem.” A metaphor of her personal struggles to shine — a rose growing out of the concrete — the track is an open invitation to Taylor’s vulnerability and life trajectory, as she raps about her success despite the tough odds. Sticking to her values, she sang, “No sneak diss, no sneak shit/ That’s just how I was raised/ Had to get it out the soil/ I been down, I been loyal/ When you really hold it down/ N—as ain’t even really down for ya/ Oh no, what a shame/ 10 years in the game/ N—as like ‘You ain’t hot? You ain’t pop yet?/ What’s up wit’ you and Ye?”
While the singer candidly rapped, ballerinas danced in front of her as she chanted the chorus, “Grew out the concrete/ A rose in Harlem/ You know it ain’t sweet.”
Check out Taylor’s full K.T.S.E medley below.