Amid work as an actor, dancer, and choreographer along with other creative pursuits, Teyana Taylor has had a labyrinthine career as an R&B recording artist, highlighted by the forthright, soul-rooted Top 20 albums VII (2014) and K.T.S.E.
(2018). The Harlem native signed with the Neptunes' Star Trak label, helped popularize the Chicken Noodle Soup dance, and aided in the choreography for Beyoncé's "Ring the Alarm" video by the time she appeared on a 2007 episode of MTV's My Super Sweet 16, when she became visible to the public. The year after Taylor made her television debut, she released her brash first single, the Jazze Pha-produced "Google Me." The track reached number 90 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and was followed in 2009 by the mixtape From a Planet Called Harlem, but that was the extent of her output for Star Trak. By the end of the year, she'd picked up a co-writing credit on "So Cold," a cut included on Chris Brown's Grammy-nominated Graffiti.
The start of the following decade was pivotal for Taylor. In 2010, she was cast in Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming -- her first of several acting roles -- and contributed vocals to Kanye West's Grammy-winning My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Released from Star Trak parent label Interscope, she signed to West's Def Jam-affiliated G.O.O.D. label, where she debuted on the 2012 compilation Cruel Summer, a number two hit featuring her input on "Sin City" and "Bliss." Taylor released another mixtape in 2012, but her proper debut, VII, didn't arrive until November 2014. Promoted with the singles "Maybe" and "Do Not Disturb," two of several steamy ballads, the album debuted at number 19 on the Billboard 200. A self-issued EP appeared in 2015, but another three years passed prior to the true follow-up to VII, during which Taylor spent time with her daughter. She appeared on 2017 tracks by Meek Mill and the duo of Fabolous and Jadakiss, and in June 2018 issued K.T.S.E. The short album, featuring co-production from West on every track, debuted at number 17. ~ Andy Kellman, Rovi