The best thing about a secret is that few people know about it. You don’t know what is bubbling under and when you finally stumble upon it, its like a fresh breath of air. And that’s what singer-songwriter Teedra Moses is – a veritable R&B secret. Ask those who know of her music – you’re likely to get an overwhelming response urging you to run to your computers.
Complex Simplicity, released in 2004, is seen as a classic. Hip-hop meets neo-soul with light gospel flourishes. Everything from the glossy and shimmering beats supplied by Poli Paul (including a stunning duet with Raphael Saadiq) to the simple melodies and straight-forward lyrics about love, loss and heartache – every aspect of that record is luminescent and pure. There’s a magic in her tracks that is nothing short of authentic or mesmerizing. One could even go as far to compare it to the influence that Mary J. Blige had with her 1994 album, My Life. Its that serious.
Her follow up, The Young Lioness, while praised by those who have heard the tracks, has been marginalized by numerous setbacks and a subsequent label folding. Understanding her commitment to her fans, Moses started from scratch. She hit the road, continuing to write for other artists (Trina, Macy Gray, Mary J. Blige, among others) and releasing mixtapes of unreleased tracks and collaborations.
Released to fans first after a lively show in Pasadena, California, the third installment in the Young Hustla mixtape series is Lionhearted, a 13-track pre-cursor to serve as a taste of what’s to come next for her eager fans. Teedra works largely with up-and-coming producers (partner Poli Paul receives only one inclusion on the album). Stylistically and sonically, they manage to place Teedra between the mid-80s and 90s while keeping a current modern footing in its lyrics and themes. 9th Wonder brings a summery groove to “Love Devine”, a close cousin to Erykah Badu’s “Honey”. The sparse “I Told You” and “Say Lil’ Mama” (with its lovely Paisley Park drum programming) show brimming personality and confidence with its charming lyrics. But it’s the face-paced, Flashdance-inspired “So Kool” that Teedra breaks it down for a former lover that crossed the line for the last time.
The mixtape is an excellent welcome addition to those eager waiting for more pieces of Teedra Moses. It’s thoroughly consistent and should satisfy listeners until her next release.
Here is a Youtube.com clip I found of the Lioness, about this up and coming.