Cognac & Conversation (released August 7, 2015)
While most of the music world is celebrating Dr. Dre’s album – a project that was 10 years in the making – in the world of R&B, we’ve also been impatiently waiting a decade for an album of our own.
Teedra Moses landed out of nowhere in 2004 with Complex Simplicity, a fiercely soulful album that quietly became a cult hit, thanks to the presence of her single “Be Your Girl” on BET’s Midnight Love.
Remember when BET actually helped break in new artists? But hey, Uncut is coming back, so let’s just twerk our problems away.
When I think about it, that’s what has made Teedra’s follow-up so anticipated. She brings a warm authenticity to a genre that continues to be crippled by oversexualization and immaturity.
After lots of label issues and false starts, Teedra has finally delivered Cognac & Conversation, which features more of her signature sultry R&B and honest takes on relationships. Album opener “R U Scared” picks up right where Complex Simplicity left off — mellow grooves with bursts of energy, followed by lyrics delivered with a cool confidence. It’s all part of her charm.
“All I Ever Wanted” borrows Camp Lo’s classic “Luchini” production — one of the best beats ever made, in my opinion — as Teedra calmly steps out on her man. “You gave me money when I gave you my heart/Now I’m out here getting this money, I don’t need you no more.” You lost your chance, homie. She’s joined by her former Maybach Music cohort Rick Ross, who … just does what Rick Ross always does. Eh, Teedra’s the star here.
Rawse also shows up for the title track, where Teedra’s vocals are downright hypnotic. Those melodic grooves similarly fuel “International Playboi” and “Only U,” where Teedra is totally lost in love: “I won’t waste another breath on someone that isn’t you,” she coos. Even when using restraint, there is power in her vocals.
Speaking of power, the song that resonates the most on the album is “That One,” an absolutely electric duet with Anthony Hamilton. It’s almost like something out of SWV’s 90s playbook, with the pair exchanging flirts throughout the song.
Although Teedra is adept at raising the tempo of her tracks while keeping the mood smooth, some spots on the album are a bit too mellow. “Skin Diver” and “Beautiful Chaos” both blend into the background instead of standing out. And the album’s interludes, while serviceable, don’t stick with you after the set ends.
Teedra closes her album with “No Regrets,” where she reflects on life’s hardships with gratitude, not bitterness. After the 10-year journey she endured to finally release her sophomore album, it’s a fitting way to cap off a labor of love.
Sometimes, good things really are worth the wait.
Best tracks: “That One,” “Cognac & Conversation,” “All I Ever Wanted”
4 stars out of 5