Teyana Taylor’s Directorial Debut: A New Era in Music Videos


Nov. 30 2023, Published 5:14 p.m. ET

Music videos play an important role in promoting a music album or single. After realizing that there would be no videos for her “K.T.S.E.” album, Teyana Taylor took this opportunity to mark her entry into directing. Even though she had made creative contributions to several projects in the past, this would be her very first time directing a video.

Taylor is a Harlem native who began her career back in the year 2007. Initially signing with Pharrell William’s she switched to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music in 2012 – where she went on to produce three studio albums. While she is known for her highly energetic videos, which ooze sensuality, her directorial debut on her “Gonna Love Me (Remix)” music video marked a new turn for her highly successful career.

Highlights of Teyana Taylor’s Directorial Debut

Here’s how the artist’s project is shaping the future of music videos:

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A Shift Toward Self-Released Projects

Teyana’s debut project as a director is self-released. In a 2018 interview on Hot ‘97’s Ebro In The Morning the artist said, “I didn’t know ahead of time that there would be no singles, no visuals.” This is what prompted her to get her music out by taking matters into her own hands and directing the visuals for the popular song.

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In addition to being her directorial debut, this project was also the first official video for the album. Given that this was a self-released project, the singer-turned-director had the freedom to experiment with various elements of the creative process.

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Relatable Story Telling

Teyana uses her creativity to bring back storytelling in music videos — in an era where it has all but disappeared. The video starts with Ghostface and Teyana (appearing as a couple) arguing on the phone. The singer then heads out onto the street where she directs her singing to the camera. After capturing Method Man rapping his verse in a stairwell, the video takes viewers to the club for Raekwon’s installment. This is also where Teyana has a confrontation with another female on the dance floor.

Shunning the Green Screen for a Real Setting

In addition to telling a relatable story of a couple in a relationship, the video also moves away from the common practice of using lazy green-screen effects in hip-hop videos. Teyana chose to shoot the video in Harlem — where she traces her roots. This worked to add a level of realness and emotion that has been lacking in music videos for a while.

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Bringing Back Those ‘90s Vibes

While the original song in the album was nothing short of perfect, the introduction of verses from members of Wu-Tang further enhanced its already strong ‘90s feel and appeal. The remix features verses from Method Man and Ghostface Killah — with Raekwon finishing things off.

A Bold and Refreshing Take

Teyana Taylor’s directorial debut worked to reinvigorate the appeal of music videos in the R&B and hip-hop fields. Her self-released project moved away from some of the practices that have rendered most of today’s music videos somewhat bland. Her move toward using a real setting together with the storytelling approach will shape the process of making music videos for many years to come.

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