Just from the album cover, Taylor channels legendary model Grace Jones’s cheekbones and high top fade. “The same way I got straight to the point with the album being called The Album is what I wanted to represent as a woman, as a Black woman that’s really doing it. Embracing my features, embracing my strong features, embracing my roots,” she said in the interview. “My mom plays a big part in that, Black woman plays a big part, Black culture played a big part in that. Of course, Grace Jones plays a big part in that, and she’s going to always be one of my biggest inspirations because of her strong features and her unique features.”
But aesthetics aside, the 29-year-old R&B artist continued representing the best of Black culture with her carefully curated featured artists list, boasting Missy Elliott, Ms. Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu, the latter of which she didn’t expect to comply.
“I have to brag about this because I’m very excited about this. Erykah’s not just giving anybody features,” Taylor told Darden. “I get the chills every time I hear her on this track because it took me three months to ask her. Like that’s how scared I was…. I was prepared for her to say no because this is Erykah Badu….”
But Taylor’s current tracklist as well as her prior discography flaunts other famous names that fulfill her desire to pay homage to those before her through a more intimate recording process than hip-hop’s common sampling technique. “To be able to have a record with Wu-Tang and have a record with Erykah Badu and have something with Lauryn Hill, I’ve literally been able to work with a lot of the people before us that’s not just giving people everyday features.”
Listen to Taylor’s Apple Music interview below.