As one of the most unique artists of our generation, Teezo Touchdown fully embodies uncharted creativity.
Whether it be through “don’t worry your early” era hits like “MID,” “SUCKA,” “Technically” and “Social Cues,” or his mainstream ascension through co-signs in Tyler, The Creator, Travis Scott, Drake, Lil Yachty, Don Toliver and more, the Beaumont, Texas native has become widely known for his inimitable presence on standalone tracks and features. However, what happens when Teezo Touchdown spends every waking moment on a full-length project?
His debut album, How Do You Sleep At Night? (Sept. 8), is not only an assertion of his bona fide star power, but turns a new leaf on music altogether. Notoriously inspired by Prince, the 30-year-old artist bends and blends genres like no other — providing a framework for what popular music has become in the 2020s. Hip-hop is taking a back seat, as unbound and inspired efforts towards originality (regardless of genre) have taken centerstage, especially evident on HDYSAN. From Boston-esque guitar riffs on “Stranger,” Queen-inspired vocal stacks and melodies on “UUHH” to a suspenseful, spell-binding EDM beat drop on the album’s outro “The Original Was Better,” Teezo Toucdown is the updated, digital era rendition of an ‘80s rock star with every sound at his disposal.
At 14 tracks long, undertones of funk, R&B and indie-pop are the backdrop to Teezo’s quirky hooks and rather impressive vocal range, straying away from the confines of hip-hop and thriving in a gray area. Much like Dominic Fike, who too melds indie, pop, rap and rock, the “alt-rap rocker” label seems to have become a connote for musical freedom in all facets — and Teezo takes full advantage. It’s not just its sonics that make HDYSAN immersive and intimate on first spin, but Teezo’s songwriting and sequencing are a league above expectations. He’s always been a breath of fresh air, but every line tells a different side to the story, offering expanded narrative perspective on “Impossible” and “Neighborhood,” among other cuts.
“I used to be so close to my parents/They said when I turned 13, I just stopped caring/They said picking up the phone shouldn’t feel like work/Or a game of who gon’ call who first,” he starkly sings on “Daddy Mama Drama,” letting listeners know of the wounds still affecting his life on a day-to-day. Slower, intimate cuts like “I Don’t Think U C Me” with Isaiah Rusk and “Sweet” featuring Foushee (produced by close friend BNYX) are contrasted with the record’s lead single “You Thought” (prod. by “Crying In My Car” collaborator Tyler Cole) featuring Janelle Monae and the bubbly “Mood Swings” — a true example of Teezo’s tasteful comparisons to a reincarnated Prince. However, it’s through the lens of his innovative “Rock & Boom,” which he describes as “R&B with the intensity of rock and the penmanship of hip-hop and a BOOM that will shake the world.”
In the lead-up to HDYSAN’s reveal, Touchdown’s whimsical feature on UTOPIA’s “Modern Jam” caused further fanfare for his debut record. Teezo also shared visual snippets for every song off the album, and garnered a co-sign from Drake in the days following the record’s initial announcement. “Tonight I just heard some of the best music ever so I am happy,” Drake wrote on Instagram, posing with Teezo and bringing him out during the It’s All A Blur tour. “I will spare you little birdies thanks to my Teezo Touchdown.” This from Drake was more than enough to put all eyes on Teezo.
Prior to this, the alt-rock rapper dropped three singles in HDYSAN’s build-up: “Rock, Paper, Strippers,” “5 O’Clock” and the only album addition “Familiarity.” All of which are beacons of self-expression, containing Teezo’s landmark brand traits such as nails, eye-black, shoulder pads, post-it notes and literal fans cheering him on. “Familiarity” is the most revealing and genuine to Teezo’s come-up, taking fans back to the start of his journey in 2018.
A major theme of the album’s rollout was traveling back-and-forth from this time in his life to present day, as Teezo learns how to balance life, work and his musical aspirations all at once. Amid this, Teezo also starred and scored the music in Cole Bennett’s first-ever short film whynot? (June 17) which features narration from the prolific Rick Rubin — continuing his ability to work in any art form.
A sonic force staying far from industry lore, Teezo’s grassroots approach to his music is not only overwhelmingly refreshing, but ultra-unique. It’s his time to shine, and he knows it more than anyone else.
Listen to ‘HDYSAN’ below!