Texas-native rapper Teezo Touchdown blends R&B and rock on his long-awaited debut album, How Do You Sleep At Night? under RCA Records. The 14-track album arrives after Teezo’s 2018 mixtapes The Example and Cover Boy. Within these five years, Teezo landed features on Travis Scott’s ‘MODERN JAM’, Tyler The Creator’s ‘RUNITUP’, Rico Nasty’s ‘Messy’, and more influential artists. Phenomenal genre-bending from experimental hip-hop to punk rock guitar melodies and electronic ballads grants Touchdown an ambitious debut.
Kicking off the intensely rock-inspired rap album are tracks ‘OK’ and ‘You Thought’ (featuring Janelle Monáe). Touchdown’s versatility shines on the polarizing guitar riffs of ‘OK’ paired with his deadpan lines about living a facade. This opener reinstates Touchdown’s desire to express himself through heavy rock and rap despite possible backlash: “Why doesn’t anyone wanna sing along? / Sometimes, I wanna scream alone / Sometimes, I just wanna be.” Opposed to the message behind ‘OK’, the second track examines how those close to Touchdown view his lifestyle. During the second half of ‘You Thought,’ Janelle Monáe’s smooth vocals ease as the beat switches into a sour break-up chant.
Mixing pop and funk with impactful storytelling, Teezo Touchdown comes back down to earth with ‘Impossible’, an essential track to his music career, and ‘Neighborhood’, a gloomy story about a local community. Although the two songs differ in genre, Touchdown’s eclectic style reaches an inspirational tone for struggling artists in just a short timeframe. Briefly moving away from the rock influences, Touchdown raps “Maybe you wanted to be a rockstar / But somebody told you, you was too old” (‘Impossible’) and “A knock on my door, it’s hauntin’ me more / ‘Cause what more can they want from me?” (‘Neighborhood’) over stripped-down beats.
With two features from rapper RusK (Isaiah Rusk), ‘I Don’t Think U C Me’ is their stand-out collaboration. The duo lean into a more soulful and anxious delivery on the fears of not being enough in a relationship. Instead of rapping, Touchdown sings, “When you look at me, what do you see? (I don’t think you see me) / Tell me what you see in me, tell me what you see in me” with RusK in the background. Although the emotion behind the song is clear, it lacks the sense of drive evident throughout the rest of the album.
How Do You Sleep At Night? closes with ‘The Original Was Better,’ a short track inviting listeners into Touchdown’s mind and his rise to fame. Remaining true to thrilling production, Touchdown uses classic EDM influences to address critiques of his music as “an amateur that caught a break.” Teezo Touchdown’s debut album is a fusion of R&B, rock, and indie influences that tackles his ambitious personality with no two tracks sounding the same. Without centering on a singular theme, Touchdown proves himself as a talent who isn’t afraid to call himself out while also using music as a way to escape his problems.