Teedra Talks New Music, Relationships and Moving On, Pt. II

Teedra-Moses-Luv-Rocket-e1361828026963Check out the second half of my interview with Teedra Moses! Read Part I here.

Possibly what Teedra Moses’ fans love most about her music are her relatable song lyrics. There’s atleast one song in her catalog that you’d swear she penned just for you, but she wasn’t really inside of your heads when she wrote it. Her first inspiration is her own life.

“When I write, I don’t set out to say every woman will be able to relate to this. but I just write what I feel in my heart.”

She describes her latest single, “Cant Be Luv” as a personal experience. “It’s really about contemplation of if I’m gonna give up the cookie or not,” she says. “I don’t know about other women– if they have that experience, you know? I do. I don’t just my cookies up to people like that. It’s a major contemplation in my mind should I even do this.”

It’s a real thing in her life even now. Moses is currently in a period of celibacy. “I don’t choose to give up my cookies to people, not because I made a conscious decision that I wouldn’t have sex, it’s just that I’m not attracted to anybody in that way to do so, and then I have to question…well, what is it? Why is it that I’m not sexually active?”

That’s the rawness you’ll find in her music.

“That’s our responsibility. Spread a little happiness to other people, and find as much as we can for ourselves.”

Admitting that she hardly listens to R&B music, she keeps her pen and musical ear close to her heart, rather than to the streets. “Whatever the track gives, I give it back. I don’t listen to one kind of music. I don’t listen to one kind of artist. I just give to the music whatever it is at the time.”

There are more heartfelt tracks on her upcoming album, Empress Pride Collection like “People Chaos,” which describes her relationship with the greatest love of her life, and father of her twin sons. She sings about loving who you’re with, but knowing you aren’t right for each other. “No Regrets,” laced with live instrumentation, tells the story of her life having her sons at a young age.

“I’m speaking on having kids young, falling in love really young and how I don’t regret it, even though it changed the course of how I thought I life would go,” she says. “Even though my life isn’t what I thought it would be at 15, I’m so happy with it. I thought I would be married with the picket fence and whatever, but I’m okay without that.”

Teedra will be showering her fans with her love through her newest music later this month at Singersroom’s Rhythm Effect Series at SOB’s in New York City. Expect a funky, but sexy live show with something for everyone.

She sings about love, but her message to her fans is about life. “My ultimate message is always to live your life—to the fullest. Life is too short to spend any second of it giving up your time, your effort, your love and your passion to shit that doesn’t matter to you.

I think life is about finding your purpose and obtaining purpose and fulfilling your purpose. I try to push that message always because that’s what I’m always trying to do.”

Keep up with Teedra at www.teedramoses.net or follow her on Twitter.

Ye Day: A Letter to Mr. West

Kanye Omari West, it’s your birthday. You’re 35 and it seems just the other day you were the hungry 23-year-old producer trying to get on as a rapper. Back then you were most known for your beats like “H to the Izzo” and my favorite, “This Can’t Be Life,” but you had a message for us and the naysayers didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t even know who you were until “Through the Wire” debuted on MTV2. There was something so familiar, yet new about you. I felt like I could relate to you, and I was only a 22-year-old college graduate from Memphis, Tennessee.

A few months later, a friend brought The College Dropout to my apartment. We played in the car, and I fell in love. He wouldn’t even let me keep the copy to burn (sorry, but you know the deal) so I had to buy my own. I spent the summer buying mixtapes, “I’m G.O.O.D.” and anything else I could find with you on it.

Then, you talked about your struggle working in retail and other odd jobs while working on beats daily in the summer, then trying to prove yourself as a lyricist. That was 2004, my first year of graduate school. I played “Spaceship” every morning during my commute to my 7 a.m. communication theory class and every day on the way to work at night. I felt that song because I, too, was working a dead-end job trying to make dreams come true. When they’d lock us in SuperTarget after hours to restock and close the store well after 12 a.m., I’d sing the hook in my head. That album got me through. By the time “Jesus Walks” was released and I saw you walk your “walk” on the GRAMMY’S stage, you weren’t just a hood star anymore, but a global one.

“I been waiting on this my whole life. These dreams be waking me up at night.”

~ I Wonder

Late Registration and Graduation got me to work on the days when I hated having a steady 9-5. I don’t know what touches me the most, the music or the lyrics. I’ve seen you live as many times as possible, but  the Glow in the Dark tour changed my life. “I Wonder” gave me chills. You told us to get our dreams out no matter what. You sang “Hey Mama” and the entire crowd cried together. We’d seen your high moments and your lowest moment.

I and everyone else loved you because you were honest and unafraid, even to a fault. I guess it’s no secret that you can be an asshole, but that’s what makes you Kanye. You’ve done everything from going left and making remarks about the POTUS during a natural disaster telethon (“George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”) to upstaging a little white girl receiving her most prized and likely most memorable award yet (I’mma let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all times.”)  to cursing out fans during live shows for…whatever. For a second, I asked myself how could I love music from a person I didn’t like all the time. Was it possible to have a love-hate relationship with you?

Over the years your music and message have changed, and some have criticized you for it, saying “He ain’t the same Ye from College Dropout.” I understand. The kid from Chi-City finally lives the life he’s always dreamed of, complete with his own designer sneakers, couture-packed closets and the most beautiful arm pieces you can find on God’s green earth. You’ve loved and lost, and though I don’t always agree with how you get your frustrations out, I feel where you’re coming from, even when you mask your emotions with autotune.  Through all of that, you’ve never ever stopped being you.  You are confident, smart, funny and arrogant–a grand mix of everything people love to hate, but hate to love.

Mr. West, you are the epitome of an artist. Someone who is fearless in what he/she says through art. You have been right and wrong, out of the box and I’d even say petty at times, but you stand by what you believe in. You change and then you stay the same all at once.  That’s why your music will always be in constant rotation wherever I am. It’s been the soundtrack to my adult life so far, and I’m looking forward to more growth, more mayhem, more life through your music. I don’t care that you don’t rap about driving raggedy cars or trying to come  up in the rap game as much anymore because with you, you never what you’re gonna get, and that’s the beauty of it.

Happy birthday Kanye!

Luxury Rappers and Why We Pay to Hear Them Tell Us They’re Rich

“F*ck talking about the recession, the sh*t’s depressing.”

-Jay-Z, Jocking Jay-Z

In the mid-90s, rap took an interesting turn. Artists stopped dropping knowledge and screaming, “Fuck the police” to talk about their designer threads, beautiful women and expensive libations. Many would say it was Biggie who made it possible for rap to evolve from rugged to stuntastic. Donning tailored suits, he made it okay for rhymers to live the good life with no apologies. Later, in 1996, Jay-Z released the video for “Can’t Knock the Hustle,” which I consider the ultimate in stunting. His persona then, a cross between an Italian gangster and Big Daddy Kane (an apparent mentor), again set the standard for men to drop the Tims and pick up three-pieces while enjoying the best of the best.

Since then, rap has been consumed with…consumerism. The majority of rappers’ songs composed of talks of clothes, Italian designers some people still can’t pronounce, elaborate homes and private jets. For years I couldn’t put my finger on what to call it until Mr. West labeled it a “luxury rap,” on “Otis,” the second single from his collaboration project with Jay-Z, Watch the Throne. If those two know about anything, it’s definitely luxury. Carter and West made Forbes’ 2011 Cash Kings list coming in at #1 ($37 million) and #3 ($16 million) respectively.

Amid the buzz on social media networks and media outlets about the iconic album, there was a heavy debate over why fans pay their hard-earned money to hear rappers tell them they have more money and possibly live better lives.  Billboard.com reports that the Watch the Throne will sell 500,000 units its first week of release. Rappers like these will always share their lives of great fortune, and we’ll always listen. Here’s why:

Fans need an escape.

Chances are if you’re struggling, living paycheck to paycheck, the closest you’re going to get to million dollar vacations is listening to Jay-Z tell you about it—atleast for a little while. If I’m broke, no way I’m paying to hear someone tell me about a struggle I know firsthand.  I live that daily for free. When I press play, I can imagine and dream (as long as I don’t do it too much), and just maybe those lyrics can inspire to have things too.

What else are they gonna talk about?

Hold your horses. There is a myriad of issues to rap about other than Ace of Spades and platinum watches, like the stock market fiasco or the London Riots. You’ve just got to find a rapper who does that. My point is, every rapper, if they are established, has a niche or a subject matter that they rarely deviate from (unless a natural disaster happens). In “Jocking Jay-Z,” he says, “Haters like, ’Hov why you still talking money shit?’/Cuz I like money, bitch!”  Clearly, they rap about what they like.

Sure, they can reflect on the times past before the money, and they do. In fact, West’s career was fueled by raps about his struggle before he made it big as a producer. He shared his experiences as only he could in his Bonnie & Clyde freestyle, “I mean my credit was so pathetic, I couldn’t get a debit/I’d fill out for a car, but shit, they’d always debt it/My girl come over tryna help me shine/how you gon’ help me get a car/your credit’s worser than mine…..Matter of fact, we broke as fuck. Those lyrics are sweet because there’s always someone who can relate, but that’s also why telling stories of fame and fortune are even sweeter. The struggle is why they have to talk about the come-up.

If I want conscious rap, I listen to Talib Kweli or Lupe Fiasco; If I want emotional rap, I go to Drake; If I want to be screamed at and lectured on the hood, I listen to DJ Khaled, and so on. Thus, if I want to hear about leer jets and such, I turn on Ye, Jay or Ross. Who gon’ stop me?

In rap, stunting is nothing new.

Listen to any freestyle rap from the 80s, and there’s cockiness. There’s talk about who got what, from the flyest girls to the best clothes and the hottest rhymes. Consider luxury rap that on steroids. After nearly 20 years of bragging and shutting opponents down, I doubt it stops anytime soon. By now, we may be a bit bored by it, but we can’t say we aren’t used to it.

Jill Scott’s ‘The Light of the Sun’ Shines Bright

“It’s like BOOM, I gotta do what I gotta do, son…Shhii…Grown woman making decisions and choices, utilizing everything inside of me.”

-Jill Scott

Boss.

The Light of the Sun exceeded my expectations. Ms. Scott never, ever disappoints. Possibly 65 percent of the album sounds like “Imagination” (musically and lyrically), and words cannot describe how I feel about that one. With this album Jilly has inspired me in more ways than one. She was so honest on this album. She put it all out there in tracks like “Le BOOM Vent Suite” and “Quick.”  One of my favorites, for sure is “Hear My Call,” a prayer to God to grant clarity and discernment about life and what it is and is not offering to us. She makes sure we don’t forget that she’s a writer and storyteller first. Her poem, “Rolling Hills,” sends a powerful message to women to look inside themselves for what’s real, instead of basing our lives and decisions off of our “fat asses.” She made me want to dust off my poetry journal. Uggghhh!!!

“Here am I again asking questions, waiting to be moved.I am so unsure of my perception.What I thought I knew, I don’t seem to…”

-Jill Scott

Have you ever heard someone do a poem or a song that makes you shout out all kinds of cosigns and foolishness at them even though you know good and well they can’t hear you? This is that all day!

 

 

Before I could plug my iPod up at work, I ran across this interview on Afrobella with Ms. Scott. While listening to the album, I noticed several themes tailored towards women, including having a spirit of discernment, which prompts us to make good or better choices in life and love and yes, even what goes on in our beds, and seeing the prize and value in ourselves. Her quote summed it up when she said this, “Now I have to look at myself and really pay attention to what I want out of life. And I don’t wanna be physically satisfied and emotionally lonely. That not good enough. Not for me.” Listen to the first two parts of the interview here.

The Light of the Sun gets my stamp of approval. Can’t wait to see her for Essence Music Festival.

Songs for Summer

It’s felt like it for weeks now, but today summer has finally arrived today. Summer makes you feel free and playful, and nothing takes those feelings to another level more than music. Here’s a random list of songs that have always reminded me of summer. No, there are no new songs or rap songs on my list, but that new Jeezy does go hard though.

Total-Kissing You Remix

Amerie-Why Don’t We Fall in Love

Beyonce-Crazy in Love

Erykah Badu-Honey

Maze-Golden Time of Day-Maze

Tearri Marie-Make Her Feel Good

Lauryn Hill-Sweetest Thing

 

What’d I miss?

Happy Birthday, Miss Jackson!

From one of my first concerts (Rhythm Nation 1912) to screaming like a teeny bopper during her performance at Essence Music Festival last year, Janet Jackson still one of my favorite entertainers. She makes me look forward to my 40s. That’s a bad chick!

Happy birthday, Damita Jo!

Five Things I’m So Over

The Royal Wedding

I’m happy for Prince William and Kate Middleton. They seem cool people, and I love her style, but why does the media care so much about this wedding happening thousands of miles away? In one morning, I saw atleast three segments on them. First, there’s the replica of Kate’s engagement ring, then there’s Barbara Walters trying on hats Kate would wear by an American couture headwear designer, then the anchors of Good Morning America are actually going overseas to cover this. Why? Every woman (just about) dreams of and gushes over a fairytale wedding fit for a princess, but I, personally, could care less. How did these “royal experts” become such, and why are they important? I’m over it, and it hasn’t even happened yet.

Everyone Else versus Tyler Perry

A few days ago, writer and pop culture critic Toure’, began a Twitter rant about filmmaker Tyler Perry, which I believe lasted for more than a day. I don’t follow Toure (and I don’t know why), so I don’t know where his motivation came from. The release of Madea’s Big Happy Family or just because? Just yesterday, the Internet blew up, reporting that Perry told Spike, Lee, iconic filmmaker and longtime critic of his work, to “go straight to hell.”

Though I’m not a “stan” for every piece of Perry’s work, I don’t turn into a poof of smoke whenever he makes a move either. Here’s a tip: If you don’t like the work, don’t support it. Money talks. Do you really think ranting on Twitter to the movie gods about it will make him retreat? I doubt that. He’s too successful to stop. There are different lanes and genres in art, not to mention, people are making their own lanes. Agree to disagree and shut up. I’m over it.

Relationship Advice

Who doesn’t love a good debate on relationships? They’re entertaining, thoughtful and sometimes stupid and infuriating. This will probably sound crazy coming from a single girl, but please spare me on the advice. It’s not that it’s not needed sometimes, it’s that it’s coming from too many places and people. I could care less about what Steve Harvey, Tyrese and a gazillion bloggers and “experts” have to say about how and when to get a man and keep him. This rant is pointless since as long as men are living and breathing, women will always want advice about them. Honestly, I don’t think we’ll ever break the code, and vice versa. That doesn’t mean we can’t talk about it, but I’d rather Tyrese show me he can spell “conscious” correctly than tell me about men. I’ve over it.

Sales Calls and Visits

A friend mocked me when I told her I have a “house phone.” It’s a necessity in my eyes, though I rarely answer it or use it. Whenever I decide to check my caller ID, it’s full of sales and unknown calls that I’m never here to receive since I’m at work. For the past three weeks, this phone has been ringing off the hook! Who are these people? Not only are people calling all day long, they’re making visits, too! Last week, I played like I was asleep on my sofa as someone rang my doorbell repeatedly and peered through my door’s window. Another time, just as I was about to tell a girl who I thought was a Jehovah’s Witness that “I believe in the Lord,” she told me she had specials on roof shingles. Get me outta heah!!! Oh, the things that happen during the day. I’m over it.

Birthers

I won’t even get that deep on this one. Just know that Donald Trump has clearly shown how he feels about “the blacks” by continuously bashing and questioning President Obama’s citizenship. It’s damn ridiculous.  He, Sarah Palin and anyone else who, two years later, still goes through great lengths to disprove his citizenship can go play in 5 p.m. traffic. I’m over it, and they should be, too.

Ghetto Booties, Good Reading and Even Better Music

Hey folks! A real post is coming soon, but in the meantime, check my piece in this week’s issue of Clutch, Have Black Women Been Reduced to the Booty? Who knew that story would have come from a plastic surgeon making a comment about the “ghetto booty” in the African-American community. Interesting comments there. Also, though I would love to keep it to myself (a friend called me a music elitist last week), I just can’t. this time You’ve got to hear this new trio from L.A., King. Erykah Badu tweeted about them this weekend, and ever since it’s been on (Did I mention that Ms. Badu, herself, is now following me? Too excited. It’s the little things.). Check out their website and get their EP for $3. I have not stopped listening to them since Friday night.

You have to know that Teedra Moses, my favorite underground and underrated artist is now signed to Rick Ross’  Maybach Music Group. It’s about time she was picked up by a major label, as she’s paid her dues (check out my latest interview with her) and continues to grind hard. I was scanning her website, only to find out that her debut album, Complex Simplicity. has been “chopped and screwed”!!! Rejoice!! I fell in love with “chopped and screwed” music, made famous by the late, great DJ Screw in Houston, after attending school in Louisiana. I was officially made “Third Coast” after living there for five years. Chopped and screwed makes everything better, trust. Here’s the link.

My FAV!!!

Enjoy and see you later!

*Image via Getty Images