The Legend of Teezo Touchdown
Teezo Touchdown is more than an artist. He's a carefully curated entity crafted by a brilliant mind.
As a part of his campaign to Get the Mid off the Streets, recently, rockstar turned mayoral candidate Teezo Touchdown was a guest on one of my favorite Youtube shows, The Cave. The Cave is the brainchild of super producer Kenny Beats. Along with the beat contests he hosts on his Twitch channel, Kenny has built a community where artists, musicians and producers can be themselves.
His social media platforms are also a great place to learn about up and coming artists. One week Doja Cat may be a guest on The Cave. Meanwhile, Domi and JD Beck are judging a beat contest with him. The next week, living legend Timberland is hanging out with Kenny on Twitch. The variety of artists, not just in the sense of genre, or race, or gender, but also generations is a lot to grasp. But if you’re talented, and not a flake, any well known, or soon to be well known musician can end up on a Kenny Beats’ platform.
For me, that makes Kenny Beats a must follow. When Teezo entered The Cave recently, I had no clue who he was. Here was a kid running a political campaign, dressed in a suit, with numerous nails piercing his hair. And when I say nails, I mean nails that get hammered into walls. Punk rockers from the 80’s and 90’s would be jealous. I had no clue what I was about to witness.
So who is Teezo Touchdown? There has been some fantastic research done on this. To put it simply, Teezo is the perfect rockstar. His mythology has been perfectly crafted. How? Because huge parts of his discography are impossible to find unless you have a doctorate in Soundcloud archiving.
Starting his career as an independent artist, in the current music industry has meant that if Teezo has made a musical misstep, or has had a change in creative perspective, Mr. Touchdown has simply erased songs.
I find this fascinating. It demonstrates an understanding of the digital medium that artists my age can’t grasp. When I was more active making music, I put out CDs and vinyl. I remember a vinyl EP that a group of us released that sold fairly well. The two rap groups involved, didn’t like the master. We felt that the press didn’t put care into their work. But, we couldn’t throw out $2K worth of vinyl. So we sold most of our copies. One of the songs charted on college radio in Quebec, apparently. I occasionally see people with copies of that record on social media. I loved the songs, but the things that the 5 of us didn’t have control of, made it a project that I would prefer I wasn’t reminded of every few years.
Teezo doesn’t have to worry about that. If a song bothers him, he can erase it from his discography. Teezo’s understanding of this, his imagination, his world building and storytelling are why he is the definition of what all future rockstars will be.
You’re probably thinking, “Dane that’s stupid. All he’s doing is erasing music.” Here’s the thing, most musicians never erase work they’ve put out. Record labels might, distributors might, but it’s rare for a musician to make that decision. With his willingness to do so, Teezo can create a mythology, the same way Bowie created Ziggy Stardust. Except, instead of people knowing who Bowie is, and seeing Ziggy as a character. The unknowing audience is introduced solely to Ziggy as a fully shaped idea.
Another benefit to being able to remove parts of a discography is that it allows for every Teezo Touchdown song available, to have an easter egg in it. All his music connects. Each song has clues to what music is coming in the future. Even in his unusual, brief feature on the latest Tyler the Creator album, in hindsight, his whole feature has nothing to do with Tyler’s song and everything to do with his current political campaign to, “Get the Mid off the Streets.” Which was first said as a throwaway line from a guest feature on one of his songs. Everything connects, because what doesn’t connect is discarded.
The one song that Teezo has recorded that he hasn’t been able to erase was “100 Drums.” That’s because 100 Drums was never an official release. Heavily sampling from a hit Panic the Disco song, the anti-gun violence anthem went viral after his back alley, live performance was co-signed by Chance the Rapper on Instagram. 100 Drums is the first song of Teezo’s that introduces his rockstar persona. After 100 Drums, Teezo was no longer a trap producer from Beaumont, Texas. He became a rockstar.
I use the term rockstar to describe Teezo because calling him a record producer, or rapper, or singer, or musician does not do the character and mythology of Teezo Touchdown justice.
When Teezo first appears on his episode of The Cave, he may have been the least known artist to enter Kenny Beats’ studio. He may appear to be slim and diminutive in stature. However, he is clearly one of the biggest artists to have ever stepped into Kenny’s recording studio.
Everything. From his look, to his posture is natural, but feels sculpted and perfected. The first thing that came to my mind seeing him was, “Oh, Kenny found a genius.” His persona reminds me of how I imagined Prince carried himself like, back in the day.
He knew exactly what he wanted to do musically on his episode of The Cave. Something many more established artists have failed to grasp on the break-neck paced show. The results speak for themselves.
At some point Teezo isn’t going to be allowed to simply erase huge chunks of his discography on a whim. Despite shooting all of his music videos in front of the same garage, the production quality has exploded. He’s doing features with Tyler the Creator, getting shout outs from Chance and he’s a close friend with Trippie Redd.
If he’s not already signed to a major, Mr. Touchdown has the financial support equivalent someone who is, and major label connections. At a certain point, we won’t be able to pretend this is all because he performed on the streets during SXSW one time. The question will be, when he inevitably blows up, if Teezo will be able to maintain and expand his mythos, or if he’s more of a human like us and less of the rockstar he portrays. Either way, he’s an artist worth your time.