Review: ‘How Do You Sleep At Night?’ Sees Teezo Touchdown Turn Restlessness to Gold

Teezo Touchdown
How Do You Sleep At Night?
4 out of 5 stars

Videos by American Songwriter

Travis Scott. Tyler, The Creator. Lil Yachty. Don Toliver. While these have been some of the most buzz-worthy names in hip-hop so far in the 2020s, they’re also just a few of the marquee artists Texas native Teezo Touchdown was able to collaborate with before ever putting out a debut project.

Landing on all these aforementioned stars’ recent albums and bringing an element of spontaneity—whether it be his vibrantly epic Before she let me in, she gotta pat me down contribution on Scott’s “Modern Jam” or his sassy, addicting Something’s tellin’ me you never had a shoppin’ spree in New York bridge on Toliver’s “Luckily I’m Having”—Teezo has consistently felt like a breath of fresh air on any LP he makes a guest appearance on, on top of already being so for the entire rap landscape in general.

This has made for a strange juxtaposition, though. Every time he’d put out a song or feature on a chart-topping album, fans knew what to expect, but they also didn’t. Listeners were sure that he’d bring a type of spark that couldn’t be ignited by any other artist on the brink of commercial success, but they also had no clue what approach he’d take. Rather than genre-bending, which is a term many like to use for artists who don’t box themselves into one robust category, Teezo is a genre innovator. An amalgamation of almost every musical genre that has been spotlighted in the public eye for the last few decades, and then some.

“Rock & Boom!” Teezo wrote on Instagram Friday morning (September 8), defining the term he uses to classify his tunes. “R&B with the intensity of Rock, the [penmanship] of hip-hop & a boom that will shake the world.”

About 12 hours before this post went up, Teezo finally shared his first-ever studio album with the world, titled How Do You Sleep At Night? A climax that follows up a slew of beloved singles since 2020 like the angsty “Bad Enough” (2020), the raucous “Mid” (2021), and the blissful “Technically” (2021), this new 14-song delivery by Teezo leaves no stone unturned, which is a mindset of his that he outlines all throughout the project.

Presented with the help of pop-punk guitar riffs, sporadic beat switches, magnificently layered choir vocals, ear-worm crafting auto-tune melodies, occasional hip-hop drums, funk, jazz, and traditional R&B instrumentation, and a cavalcade of voice-manipulating flows, How Do You Sleep At Night? tells us who Teezo is inside and out.

Breaking into the mainstream at 30 years of age, Teezo knows he’s an unorthodox character. So, when he brings up critiques of him and his artistry, like being too old to be a rockstar on “Impossible” or being just an amateur that caught a break on “The Original Was Better,” it becomes easier to find yourself in the mind of a once enigmatic figure. But ultimately, regardless of the naysayers, he’s fully aware that he’s uber-talented.

I believe in aliens, I don’t believe in luck
I’m running, grinding, jumping, climbing, but I still feel stuck
I know that I’ma make it, baby, no if, ands or buts
I know that I’m a superstar, but no one’s looking up

– Teezo Touchdown on “Familiarity”

[RELATED: Drake Co-Signs Rising Artist Teezo Touchdown: “Some of the Best Music Ever”]

Instead, Teezo’s struggle on How Do You Sleep At Night? is the agonizing realization that his skill for music doesn’t translate into the ability to properly handle relationships, whether they be romantic or familial. Songs like “You Thought,” “UUHH,” “Sweet,” “Too Easy,” and “Stranger” all document the awareness he has that he’s a mess to deal with as a partner, even though he’s very much a lover at heart. And with “Familiarity” and “Daddy Mama Drama,” he recognizes his connection with his parents isn’t where it needs to be.

(The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree)
But if it does, it’s okay, we can go and fix the screen
(But if not, but if not)
Put a case on it and hope that it still ring, ring, rings
Ring, ring, ring

As a whole, this album tells a tale of how Teezo used music to avoid his problems, but also to prove himself right. Desperation and fear meet talent and ingenuity in a fascinating way on How Do You Sleep At Night? making for one of the most thrilling full-length listens of the year thus far.

(Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)

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