To know me is to know that I love all things entertaining. All things entertaining includes VH1's Monday night lineup, 'pacifically, Love & Hip Hop Hollywood. This is not news. I remember when I heard that Ray J was going to be a centerpiece of the show and the joy that arose in my heart. Well, three episodes in and the two people of note thus far are Teairra Mari and Moniece Slaughter. Moniece (I'm rehashing for posterity and due dilligence's sake) is the baby mama to Lil Fizz aka He Of All The Sense Save For Impregnating Moniece, and despite what her IG implies, seems to be somewhat of a dead beat mama.
Teairra Mari is another story. She's the clear anchor of the show thus far, a la Mimi or Joseline on the Atlanta versions of the show. Most people watching believe that Teairra Mari is a crazy bird who is hung up on a man who doesn't want her. None of this is inaccurate, though I've started to turn from my staunch view of her being a Ratchet Enthusiast Extraordinaire. Clearly she's on that zero to 100 nigga real quick diet and definitely believes in throwing drinks and putting paws on people if need be. But it doesn't tell the whole story. I think Teairra Mari is a woman whose best days are behind her career-wise and she is confused by this. Coupled with her 9-year-clearly-off-again-on-again relationship with Ray J Da Gawd (keep in mind, she's only 26!), and you get a woman who has some common sense except where it counts but is holding onto some of that life-ain't-fair resentment those who get close and taste the stardom have.
Here's the thing, I think she should have been a star.
I hear you lookin' at me. Talkin' about P done flipped his wig. What has Teairra Mari ever done worthy of note to warrant such accolade and belief? You gon' learn today. I think Teairra Mari had the chops, the look, the panache to be less than Beyonce but more than Ciara (basically Rihanna, there's an argument here for another day about Rihanna versus Beyonce, beeteedubs). I'm guessing her handlers and her timing ruined what I believe should have been a real musical career.
From what I remember (and checking Wikipedia and various stories about her intro into the game) she was one of those singers who lit up the room from jump. She showed up and everybody loved her. She could sing and she had that "thing". She gets a deal from Jay-Z with Roc-a-fella who has just taken over Def Jam then we get her first single "Make Her Feel Good" (a Mya-esque song in my opinion). I remember when this song dropped. Nobody seemed to love it but nobody hated it either. It just…existed. Probably because it was a little too old for her. But the intent with her was to appeal to that street, Mary J, hiphop R&B lane, with a side of hoodratism, evidenced by the "No Daddy" song and video which featured Bad Black Movie Maven and Lifetime Achievement Award nominee, Clifton Powell.
Look, releasing a song about how you made it without a daddy is an odd choice for a song. I can't imagine anybody legit coming into the game trying to tell that story via song unless your name is Fantasia and thinking it will work. Amazingly, this song got significant video play because America hates Black people. I don't think either of her first singles truly showcased her true talent though: her voice. They were beat and sound driven, with topics that were soundbite heavy. Nobody in their right mind is caring about her after those songs past the music cycle. This was all back in 2005, ten years ago when she was 16-years-old and her career is pretty much over before it begins. She starts working on a second album but nobody cares.
Luckily she's pretty and had some modeling gigs and got some ad work (if I remember correctly).
Times keeps on ticking and she's released music here and there but nothing that really catches on, until 2010 when she dropped the song that I think should have put her all over the map. A song that I can't stop loving like Michael Jackson singing to Siedah Garret on track 8 from the Bad album.
This song is damn near perfect. And it's produced in such a fashion that it makes me feel like they may have known they had a hit on their hands so they were extra careful. Vocals were layered perfectly, they even bought in Gucci Mane (on fire in 2010) and (Soulja Boy, never on fire, but definitely still a presence) to pad the stats. Keep in mind, Gucci Mane was so hot in 2009-2011, Interscope brought Gucci Mane to spit a verse on Wale's song "Pretty Girls" which was a reworking of the Backyard Band go-go song, "Thug Passion". They figured that maybe Gucci Mane could get the song to a wider audience. Nothing else explains his presence on that song. Nothing. He couldn't even be bothered to show up to the video shoot though let's just assume he was in jail at the time because Gucci Mane seems to really like jail.
Anyway, I remember when I heard "Sponsor", I actually wondered who was singing it and was like, "yo, this chick has a hit on her hands." I heard it on the radio and didn't realize until later it was Teairra Mari, at which point I was convinced that maybe she was about to body the game a little bit. Then nothing. The other songs I heard in passing didn't quite move me. It's like all of her songs were specifically crafted to get radio play and it didn't work. "Sponsor" on the other hand just worked. Sure it was a bird anthem, but Teedra Moses dropped a classic bird/hoodrat album and she's got a cult following despite not releasing music worth purchasing in ten years.
So the super pretty girl has a song that should have been a huge hit (even in 2010 ratchets were running rampant and every ratchet needs a theme song), can legit sing and has the opportunity having worked with any number of bigger name producers. She even gets acting roles on occasion (see Lottery Ticket). The universe just didn't want her to win. Sure she's still dropping mixtapes and whatnot. And she's still young enough to drop another project. But she seems to suffer from the "industry" problem of attempting to find that radio single to catch on. I have no idea if she's a decent songwriter or not, but she needs to look into crafting a unique Beyonce style album that's unique to her talents (I'm also assuming she really has any other talent aside from her voice) and personal and hit the game running indepedently.
True, one song made me believe in her, but that's what happened with me and Kendrick Lamar, an artist I wouldn't shut up about in 2009. I was perusing nahright.com and came across a song called "Wanna Be Heard" off his self-titled EP that somehow had like 15 tracks on it. That song made me a believer and I've been riding with Kendrick ever since. Sometimes it takes one song.
I remember some years ago when I was listening to the radio in DC and Marques Houston was doing an interview. They cut to Trey Songz "Say Ahh" so I assumed it was Marques Houston's song. Do you know I thought Marques Houston was triumphantly returning to the game? (He wasn't.) It just takes one.
I thought Teairra Mari had it. I was wrong. But catching magic is possible and I still believe she can because she can still sing, she's still young, and she's still pretty. She just needs that right song and I believe she'll be able to catch a career wave and ascent to where I think she belongs. There's plenty of room at the table and she's already got enough of a name where her road should be a little easier.
Or maybe she's a pain in the ass to work with. Which derails the entire thing.
I don't know but its possible. She's got a temper. That much is evident. But I believe.
And yes, I just spent 1,300 words discussing Teirra Mari's merits in the music business.
I need a sponsor.