Concluding the phenomenal five week stint of Kanye West executively produced seven track GOOD Music offerings referred to as the ‘Wyoming Sessions’ we have Teyana Taylor‘s second studio album; the soulful and easygoing ‘K.T.S.E.’ (Keep That Same Energy), released June 22nd.

Teyana, who starred in the provocative and choreography-acclaimed video for Kanye West‘s TLOP single ‘Fade’ is an actress, singer and songwriter who after years of what seems like having to take a back-seat, has finally been given the platform that enables an artist to shine, bright like a diamond – the Kanye production treatment. S̶e̶v̶e̶n̶ eight (she gets a track extra than everyone else, for some reason) slates of unmatchable beat-wizardry for which to to show the world why they should listen to you.

After meeting Kanye back in 2010 when he was working on widely celebrated grandiose opus ‘MBDTF’ and providing vocals for album opener that channels the essence of cool; ‘Dark Fantasy’, she became a part of the GOOD Music family in 2012. With steady contributions to label projects since, leading up to the release of her debut album ‘VII’ in 2014 we arrive at her sophomore effort ‘Keep That Same Energy’.

Teyana x Kanye

Her potential is truly reached and unforgivingly displayed over what feel like somehow the best beats of all the projects birthed out of the Wyoming sessions – this has been a reoccurring feeling I’ve had with each project. ‘Hurry’ featuring a verse from Yeezus is a personal standout that sees her infectious and gleeful melodies fuse beautifully with the rich and alive production, of course bolstered by Kanye‘s exceptional ear for sampling. ‘Gonna Love Me’ feels like an R&B classic already, inviting the listener to a heavenly sanctuary for a couple of minutes where they feel at one with the world and like everything’s gonna be alright: ‘Rose in Harlem’ takes this a step further and is simply a glamorous three minutes of uplifting and excellently crafted music. ‘K.T.S.E.’ harbours the same soul-music feeling running through the backbone of ‘Kids See Ghosts’.

The fourth offering of GOOD Music’s winning run of releases saw the birth of ‘NASIR’ on 15th June; the Kanye produced 7 track Nas album, to acclaim akin to the three phenomenal releases that preceded it. There is only one aspect that for me hold’s ‘NASIR’ back from feeling as truly integrated and as part of the bigger picture as the previous three jigsaw piece projects, and that is the lack of self-revelation. Opening up to a painfully honest degree has been a key factor in ‘Daytona’, massively so in ‘ye’ and just as prominent with ‘Kids See Ghosts’.

In comparison, when considering the context of how Kanye had caused public backlash (not unlike him…) with poorly expressed comments about slavery and open endorsement of Donald Trump, yet used ‘ye’ and ‘Kids See Ghosts’ as a platform to shed light on and effectively respond to / clear up the air surrounding these controversies. Nas has recently faced allegations of being physically abusive towards his wife Kelis, yet there is zero lyrical space dedicated to so much as acknowledging the situation let alone providing his side of the story – this comes across as kind of ironic considering how much societal issues and problems with the world are addressed; the exact tone to suit addressing the Kelis situation, yet nothing.

It goes without saying that Nas‘ microphone prominence welds strongly with the production he was graced with and he doesn’t fail to elicit some hard screwfacing from listeners, but I can’t help but feel that ‘NASIR’ just does not carry the gravitas of the other releases. This is mainly because it is challenging to take this album on its own, bereft of relating it or feeling like it should be an intrical slice of the ‘Wyoming Sessions’ pie. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the album and there are some fantastical highlights, namely ‘Cops Shot the Kid’ & ‘Not For Radio’ but to put in perspective I can’t justify scoring it any more than a 7/10, whereas ‘Daytona’ is a solid 8.8, ‘ye’ a 9.4, ‘Kids See Ghost’ is pushing for full marks and ‘Keep That Same Energy’ achieves a proud rating of 8.5 (admittedly I am not a huge R&B fan – although this record makes a great case to try persuade me! – So it was never likely to trump the others, however I would definitely listen to this project over ‘NASIR’).

To summarise this has truly been an excellent month-and-a-week of quality over quantity releases, extremely refreshing in the midst of a landscape where the mind-state is predominantly geared towards creating a saturated, sprawling tracklist in order to gain more album streaming figures. Refreshing also has been the lyrical approach and value placed upon the virtue of honesty as I have alluded to above. If I had to pick one of these five projects to come out of the Wyoming sessions to live with and forget about the others, it would have to be ‘Kids See Ghosts’.

Kanye so happy

Kanye looking rather pleased with himself and rightly so with the magic he’s produced during this stint!

You can check out our thoughts and reviews on Kanye‘s solo ‘ye’ album here – (we did not produce a dedicated review of the Pusha T ‘Daytona’ project but it is referred to and spoken of plenty in this piece): http://bloggersgamut.com/albums/kanye-west-ye-album-review/

and what we thought of the Kanye x Kid Cudi project ‘Kids See Ghosts’ here: http://bloggersgamut.com/music/kids-see-ghosts-album-review/

With the release of the fifth and final project of this GOOD Music run of excellent projects, we have decided to celebrate and honour the ‘Wyoming Sessions’ by putting together an All Killer, No Filler playlist consisting solely of our favourite picks from these five albums, check it out and let us know what you think of the playlist in the comments section!

Teyana‘s album ‘K.T.S.E.’ is available for purchase at https://shop.teyanataylor.com/ (with some quite reasonably priced merch!) and is live now on all good music streaming platforms.

‘ye’ and ‘Kids See Ghosts’ are available to purchase at https://shop.kanyewest.com/ and also live on all streaming platforms now.

‘NASIR’ is available to purchase at https://shop.nasirjones.com/ and again is live on all streaming platforms.

‘Daytona’ can be procured at https://shop.kingpush.com/ and once again the album is available to stream on all good music platforms now!

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