by Patheresa Wells
As we in the PNW turn toward Spring, there is the promise of renewal, rejuvenation, and radiance that comes with more hours of sunlight. Taylar Elizza Beth (TEB) has harnessed this promise of sun-soaked days in her new EP, NINETY THREE, released March 29, 2022. A self-professed sun baby, TEB wrote the album on a plane ride to Palm Springs. NINETY THREE also reflects the collaboration between TEB and producer WD4D. The EP’s three tracks lift our vibrations and remind us of the warmth that is to come — in many ways.
Born and raised in White Center, TEB has made music her entire life. In fact, the album is named after 1993, the year she was born, and a legendary year in rap history. Brought up by a single mother as the only Black person in her family, she says music was a way to escape and dissociate when things got tough. “I remember riding my bike up and down my grandma’s driveway, making songs up,” she said.
Whether it was church choir, dance, or theater, she always found a way to perform. TEB started doing spoken-word poetry in 2013, which led to writing raps, and her first album, THE BLK EP, was released the following year.
In THE BLK EP album notes, TEB says, “This is what comes out after a year of finding my voice. I’m an artist, first and foremost, discovering what it means to create my own world. This is the beginning.”
Creating her world through music is what TEB has continued to do, releasing multiple projects while building a following as the superstar she has always been. But one of the most critical aspects of the longevity of an artist is growth. And with her new album, TEB shows that to grow, you must experiment to see the ways your voice and your sound evolve.
That desire for growth and ownership over her sound led to the collaboration between TEB and producer WD4D. WD4D, who has been DJing Seattle-area hip-hop shows since the ’90s, grew up being influenced by an eclectic mix of music. This love of music, including the likes of Sade and Grover Washington Jr., led him to start sampling beats to form tracks as a producer. And after sharing bills at shows in February of this year, the two decided to collaborate, blending their respective sounds to create something new. TEB and WD4D bonded over the need for creative control as independent artists when they combined forces. “Not being able to have control over your own artistic output was getting tiresome, for lack of better words. So I think we both were happy to see somebody else that was on that same level, working at the same pace,” said WD4D.
This joint venture allowed TEB the opportunity to have her first co-production credit. She doesn’t put limitations on herself or her music, so working with others who support that is important. “I need to do something different. I want to get my hands dirty,” TEB said. “I want to have more say in what my sound sounds like — and so meeting up with WD4D and figuring out that we have a really great artistic chemistry, it was really serendipitous. I feel like that’s how we got NINETY THREE.”
This serendipitous shift on NINETY THREE creates a mood for each moment, each track. She said, “I was trying to channel what it felt like to feel free at the beach, listening to music on your Bluetooth speaker with your bitches. We made this shit for the Bluetooth babes.” As I listened to the album at the park on one of our recent sun-filled days, I felt the hope of what’s to come. The uplifting tempos of the first track, “NINETY THREE,” combined with its lyrics spoke to this period of coming out of a global pandemic, protests for Black lives, and the uncertainty of the past few years. TEB’s voice echoes against the rhythm in the song: “Recharge right now, so emotional. Can you stop right there? Getting hotter getting higher as the sun gets low. Woah, hold me close til we lose control.” As if she knows what I’ve been through, as if she knows I need to be outside to let go, to heal. And to make sure listeners are uplifted, TEB adds a hook that’s so deliciously inspiring I find myself repeating it once the music stops. “You know just who you are. You’ve lived this life before. You’ve grown thru worse, I’m sure.”
Each song on NINETY THREE captures a period of time along with its associated feeling. The second track, “SEE YOU,” is hard-hitting right from the start. It does so with percussion and a bass line that comes in early, daring you to resist the urge to shake along with it. The beauty of the song is in the seriousness of its message: seeing through an ex you have gotten over. It’s clear to me that when TEB and WD4D created the piece, they harnessed that movement. Bouncing your body to the beat can help you move on.
“You want to live in that moment for as long as you can. People in LA and in Florida have that vibe all the time. But because we’re here in Seattle, I do feel like our summers are even more special, because there’s nothing like them,” said TEB.
The entire album feels like permission to move forward. To accept our losses and look toward the sun. To find our friends again, jiggle our asses, and catch the vibes that TEB and WD4D have crafted. Like the specialness of our Seattle summers, NINETY THREE is an album worth soaking in.
- NINETY THREE can be purchased on Bandcamp.
- TEB will be performing Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Occlusions Album Release at Cafe Racer.
- TEB will be performing with WD4D DJing at the mural for Pride in the Park on June 4, 2022.
- Follow TEB’s and WD4D’s Instagram accounts for more details about future events.
Patheresa Wells is a Queer poet, writer, and storyteller who lives in SeaTac, Washington. Born to a Black mother and Persian father, her experiences as a multicultural child shaped her desire to advocate for and amplify her community. She currently attends Highline College in Des Moines. Follow her on Twitter @PatheresaWells.
📸 Featured Image: Hip-hop artist Taylar Elizza Beth (TEB) hails from White Center, but her latest EP, “NINETY THREE,” was partly inspired by a sun-soaked trip to Palm Springs. Cover art by Taylar Elizza Beth; 93 graphic by Murkury Studios.
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