If you’ve been paying attention to Hip-Hop over the current decade, the name Teezo Touchdown has crossed your radar at least a few times. The eccentrically dressed rapper/singer-songwriter has been featured on Tyler, the Creator, Lil Yachty and Travis Scott’s latest hit albums; not to mention him being co-signed by the likes of Madonna and Drake, with the latter calling Teezo’s debut album How Do You Sleep at Night? “...some of the best music ever…” prior to release. But is this new album worth the hype? Or is it as rusty as the nails the Texas punk rapper wears in his hair?
How Do You Sleep at Night? is an experimental rap record featuring production from some of alternative music’s hottest names, such as Dylan Brady of the duo 100 Gecs and Yeat producer Bnyx. Although massively hyped by Hip-Hop’s biggest trendsetters, the album is light on features and mainly relies on Teezo’s songwriting and singing. Influences of R&B, Rock, and boom bap Hip-Hop are laced throughout the record to create a style Touchdown refers to as “...rock & boom” in a recent Zane Lowe interview.
The record’s best moments easily come from its rock influences. Tracks such as “You Thought” with Janelle Monáe and “Too Easy” begin with punchy guitars and energetic delivery before transitioning into smooth melodies and lowkey auto-crooning, resulting in some seriously exciting tunes. Lead single “Familiarity” is another highlight, mixing a solid guitar riff with eccentric vocal melodies.
There are several moments on this project where Teezo’s humor and goofiness shine through, such as the song “UUHH” where he tongue-in-cheekily flexes his bedroom game while also genuinely flexing his vocal pipes. “Mood Swings” sees Teezo describe his mental instability before chiming in with a gleeful chorus so sugary it’s already being used in Taco Bell commercials.
Teezo presents a ton of concepts on this record but doesn’t fully explore some of the most interesting. Fousheé collab “Sweet” is about a relationship formed to escape Touchdown’s “sour” life, and even contains a lyric on how he feels things will “...last about a week.” However, Teezo nor Fousheé fully explore this contrasting dynamic or the potential insecurities birthed by this relationship, making the track feel more like a demo than something complete.
Songs such as “Nu Nay'' also feel half-baked, especially with its stiff flow and rudimentary punchlines. The closer “The Original Was Better” meanders around lyrically without really saying anything; the song mostly relying on its EDM build-up and drop for notoriety.
I think this project would’ve benefited from having more collaborations. Teezo works on features such as Travis Scott’s “Modern Jam” because he’s able to stand out alongside other artist’s vibes so well. Without a variety of voices, the record feels like it has holes and unfinished statements. However, I do respect the move to go mostly solo on a debut album in a streaming and clout obsessed music climate.
Overall, How Do You Sleep at Night? has a ton of interesting ideas and several well-executed songs, but it feels too much like an artist dipping his toes into a bunch of pies without a solid commitment. At only around 40 minutes, it’s a listen I’d recommend to see what sticks with you, but not an album I’d say is for everyone. Teezo Touchdown has a ton of potential and I hope to see the strengths from this album flexed harder on his next work.