How Do You Sleep At Night?

How Do You Sleep At Night?

If there’s one thing that 2023 has proven it’s that a lot of the greatest talents in hip-hop aren’t content to restrict themselves to hip-hop. Add Teezo Touchdown to that list of genre-benders and experimenters. Since his earliest singles, the Texan has delighted in blurring the boundaries between lo-fi trap, DIY R&B, and pawn-shop emo, earning co-signs and feature offers from A-listers like Tyler, The Creator and Travis Scott, while parading his Hellraiser-chic look at New York Fashion Week. But on his debut full-length release, Teezo sounds less interested in becoming rap’s next big thing than Gen Z’s new rock-star hope. “The sound that I'm crafting is called rock ’n' boom,” Teezo explains to Apple Music. “It's R&B with the intensity of rock.” However, on How Do You Sleep at Night?, Teezo isn’t simply mashing genres together; he’s completely turning conventional notions of rock and rap songwriting inside out. He delights in upending expectations: “You Thought” hitches its rapid-fire rhymes to machine-gunned drums and pulverizing riffs, but after one minute, this rap-metal assault dissolves into a soft-focus devotional with tranquil guitar melodies and a romantic hook courtesy of Janelle Monáe. The playful throwback disco of “Mood Swings” more than lives up to its name when it suddenly free-falls into a doomy dirge; conversely, the digital thrasher “Too Easy” starts out in a mosh pit before ending up in the boudoir. But the album’s manic mashups are balanced out by more clear-eyed statements of purpose like “Familiarity,” a breezy indie-pop anthem that doubles as Teezo’s origin-story myth, a reminder to never stop pursuing your dreams and living life to the max, even when you’re making minimum wage. “I listen to a lot of my music and realize it's like I'm talking to myself in a futurist manner,” Teezo says. “I truly believe in that as part of the magic of the arts: Through that filter, you express things that perhaps you don't even recognize are possible, and thereby draw them closer to you. It's pure manifestation. On ‘Familiarity,’ I say, ‘I know that I'm a superstar/But no one gives a fuck.’ So I think everyone who's trying to go for something is always going to see the star in the mirror. You just have to be patient and not be jaded or bitter and wait for the rest of the world to see.” For Teezo Touchdown, that time has come.

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