The Beaumont, Texas, native has made fans out of everyone from Tyler, the Creator, to Madonna
The first thing that grabs your attention about Teezo Touchdown is his look — especially when his hair is draped with actual nails. When you delve into his music, you might come across a pop-punk ballad, followed by a contemporary hip-hop track. Before you know it, you’re yearning to know more about him. You won’t be alone there: Teezo’s highly unorthodox approach has proved irresistible to some of music’s boldest names, from Tyler, the Creator (who featured him on Call Me If You Get Lost) to Madonna (who posed with him in an Instagram photo), all before the release later this year of Teezo’s debut album.
The Beaumont, Texas, native credits his father, a DJ, for broadening his worldview by introducing him to artists like Marvin Gaye, the Gap Band, Bob Marley, and, most important, Kraftwerk. “It’s just something about hearing heavily concentrated electric stuff from your dad,” he says.
Teezo is a devoted student of music, absorbing knowledge from interviews and books. During our Zoom call, he drops casual facts, quoting something he heard Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis say: “The best idea wins, it doesn’t have to come from you.” Another story, about the night Rick James and Prince shared a stage in Dallas in 1980, leads him to draw parallels with his own experiences meeting fellow Texan artist Don Toliver, which produced their summer anthem “Luckily I’m Having.”
All these influences and more go into Teezo’s mix. He draws precise inspiration from hip-hop legends of the past — Cam’Ron’s sharp wit and cadence, LL Cool J’s confident performance style, and Drake’s penmanship are all in evidence. And no matter what else he’s listening to, his foundation remains rooted in hip-hop.
“It’s definitely hip-hop first,” Teezo says proudly. “I always say I am an MC first. That’s why I take so much pride in my songwriting, and why I take so much pride in my individuality. Those are the two golden rules… Hip-hop is rock & roll.”