(s/n): I get my musical taste from my mother. Growing up, I heard everything from Barry White, TLC, Mary J. Blige to Al Green. One musician my mom put me on to that I am forever grateful for..is the late & great Teena Marie.
Mary Christine Brockert is a LEGEND okay!? She’s been mentioned on two of my posts towards Black Labels ( Motown & Cash Money) ..but I don’t think I couldn’t go too long without giving her a special post for herself.
Often I hear questions about Teena & if she was still alive, would she be accused of cultural appropriation..& I always say no. What sets Teena apart from other “blue-eyed soul artists,” is that her love & appreciation for Black people & our culture was authentic. For one, Black people LOVED Teena child (still do. Her music is always being played at the cookouts).
Teena being white never really gave her “privilege” in the R&B scene because not many non-Black people even know who she was…& if they do, it’s because of Lovergirl. Teena should’ve been as huge as Madonna! In the one album where Epic records tried to give her crossover success, it didn’t work at all. Even her most pop sounding records still have so much soul in them because that was her calling. So heavens no.
Teena is mostly known for her affiliation with the incomparable Rick James.
I honestly believe that the two were musical soulmates..hell soulmates period. Every song they’ve ever worked on together or just produced/written..is magical. I mean..Fire & Desire alone. I know Fire & Desire is their most beloved song together but it’s greatness to see the chemistry they had with each other! 🔥 & this was their last time performing together? My heart. 💔😩
One of my favorite Rick & Tina collabs is Happy! 🔥🔥🔥
A duet of theirs that isn’t discussed enough is The Once & Future Dream! It’s my favorite of all time!
As much as I love Teena & Rick’s music, Teena has some amazing songs of her own too now! One of my ultimate favorites is Out on a Limb from the Lovergirl album. PER-FUCKING-FECTION.
& this impromptu performance with the legendary Howard Hewett? Y’all. My heart! 😭😩
Wild and Peaceful (1979):
Favorites: I’m a Sucker for Your Love, Turnin’ Me On, Don’t Look Back, Deja Vu (I’ve Been Here Before,) Every Bit Hurts, I Can’t Love Anymore.
Teena Marie’s debut album has the most amazing production from Rick James. Motown did an amazing job with marketing Wild & Peaceful. When Teena’s music was first introduced to radio, audiences were under the impression that she was a black woman.
Her debut performance on soul train buried that rumor..but I thought it was impressive to keep everyone wondering who was this singing sista behind those amazing songs.
Deja Vu (I’ve Been Here Before) is the most memorable song from this record & is still one of my favorite Teena songs lyrically and vocally. Auntie had TIME!! 😩🙌🏾.
Lady T (1980):
Favorites: Behind The Groove, Aladdin’s Lamp, Now That I Have You, Can It Be Love, Why Can’t I Get Next to You, Co-Pilot to Pilot, You’re All The Boogie I Need.
Lady T was Teena’s nickname at Motown, & was the perfect album name to introduce the first album with a photograph of her. She worked & produced the album with Richard Rudolph (the husband of the late great Minnie Riperton,) & created GREATNESS.
Behind the Groove is the most memorable song and the most amazing song ever! I remember the days of playing GTA: Vice City and hearing behind the groove. It’s so magical, & those vocals were SICK! 😩👌🏾
& don’t get me started on Aladdin’s Lamp. Perfection y’all!
Irons in the Fire (1980):
Favorites: I Need Your Lovin’, Chains, Young Love, Irons in the Fire, Tune in Tomorrow, First Class Love, You Make Love Like Springtime.
Irons in the Fire is my favorite Teena Marie album hands down. It’s her first self produced record because she was fed up with people doubting her child! Even in today’s time..people doubt an artist’s artistry if they don’t produced and write their music.
It’s typical for singers to rely on songwriters and producers to produce their content. But for Teena? Oh no baby. She was a MUSIC ARTIST. She knew how to play instruments and write her own shhhhh…🙃😊
Teena starts off this record with the bop I Need Your Lovin’, & it is like 7 minutes of greatness! I would go out on a limb and say that Teena was a Queen in the world of funk too right along with Chaka! The awesome ballad Young Love is my highlight, simply because of those angelic vocals.
It Must Be Magic (1981):
Favorites: Portuguese Love, Revolution, Yes Indeed, Square Biz, It Must Be Magic, The Ballad of Cradle Rob & Me, Someday We’ll All Be Free, Where’s California.
It Must Be Magic is Teena’s last Motown album, & she went out with a BANG! Her signature song “Square Biz” rests here, & she basically became a BLACK household name!
Once again, Teena wrote and produced the record on her own…which showed the world that she’s a one woman show. She don’t need anyone to compose her work! The Opus interludes started here, & was featured on her later album..Naked to the World. Teena’s interludes were a chance to showcase those incredible vocals. You know Teena always had time!
Favorites: Casanova Brown, Robbery, Shadow Boxing, Playboy, Dear Lover, Stop The World, Midnight Magnet.
After departing from Motown (& suing them, but that’s a story for another day..) , Teena signed to Epic Records. Robbery was a slow start for Teena because it wasn’t a success like It Must Be Magic. A highlight from this album is the immaculate and autobiographical Cassanova Brown.
We all know about the relationship Teena & Rick James had. It was professional, then personal. Cassanova Brown tells the story of their love affair gone wrong. Greatness, cause you know I love some tea. 😩🔥
Favorites: Lovergirl, Out On A Limb, Alibi, Help Youngblood Get To The Freaky Party, Starchild, Jammin, My Dear Mr. Gaye, Light.
Teena’s slow start at Epic paid off with the release of Starchild. Child this is an ALBUM!!!! Lovergirl was a crossover hit for Teena during this era, but the bops doesn’t end there. My favorite song on this album is Out on a Limb hands down. 1. It’s the story of my life. 2.
It’s per.fect.ion! Teena knew how to produce and write a SONG okay?! The rest of the album is a mix of funk & soulful ballads. Her ode to her labelmate at Motown, Marvin Gaye is the most beautiful song on this record.
Emerald Child (1986):
Favorites: Emerald City, Lips To Find You, Love Me Down Easy, Shangri-La, Once Is Not Enough, Sunny Skies, You So Heavy.
In today’s world, Beyoncé & Rihanna can venture into various genres and make instant hits. In Teena’s time, it wasn’t so easy. A concept album, the vision for Emerald City was actually incredible..seeing Teena straying away from her funk/soul sound, & going into blues and rock.
It’s another one of her underrated albums, because although it is influenced by rock and blues, Teena had too much soul in her…to even attempt to venture into something else. Shangri-LA is a quiet storm bop to have in your collection of quiet storm songs. Get into IT!
Favorites: Work It, Ooh La La, The Once & Future Dream, Trick Bag, Crocodile Tears, Call Me (I Got Your Number,) Naked to the World, Surrealistic Pillow, The Ball.
Naked to the World returns Teena back to her funk/soul roots & everything was all right with the world. Another one of my ultimate favorite albums from Teena, it wasn’t no bullshit! The duets with Rick James are highlights (Call Me & The Once & Future Dream). I just believe they are the King & Queen of duets. Period!
Ooh La La is a R&B masterpiece, & work it is a funk bop! Just another album where Teena had all of the time to create a memorable piece of work.
Favorites: If I Were A Bell, The Sugar Shack, Just Us Two, Snap Your Fingers, Miracles Need Wings to Fly, The Red Zone, Cupid is a Real Straight Shooter, Mr. IceCream, Here’s Looking at You.
Another gem in Teena’s discography that is slept on, Ivory was a new jack swing influenced album. Something critics and fans weren’t used to, it wasn’t one of her best sellers. The most memorable song on the album..If I Were A Bell, is one of Teena’s best songs. There are some gems that rest here though! Please check out The Sugar Shack & Cupid is a Real Straight Shooter.
Passion Play (1994):
Favorites: Warm As Mommas Oven, Smooth Tip, Main Squeeze, Parking Music, Breakfast in Bed, Passion Play,
Teena has a lot of underrated albums in her discography, but this one is the ULTIMATE overlooked piece of work. 😩🤦🏾♂️. It was released independently, but it is so sought after. Why? BECAUSE GREATNESS!!! Duh.
The collaboration with Lenny Kravitz (Main Squeeze,) is just a gem. Warm as Momma’s Oven? A sensual bop y’all! Teena is just an artist that captivates you with her great voice. Passion Play shows you why Teena is that artist!
La Doña (2004):
Favorites: Still in Love, Honey Call, Hit Me Where I Live, Black Rain, I Love Him Too, A Rose by Any Other Name, Baby I’m Your Fiend, The Mackin’ Game, Off The Chain, I Got You, Makavelli Never Lied, My Body’s Hungry.
La Doña is an album NO ONE can ever top! Period. It’s the album that introduced me to Teena. My mom used to play this album faithfully in 2004, so the memories stuck with me over the years enough to want to give Teena homage in 2 appreciation posts, including this one.
Why? Cause Teena is EVERYTHING! 😭🙌🏾🔥 Still In Love was Teena’s comeback hit & honestly it was hard to go anywhere without hearing it. Sampling Al Green’s What a Wonderful Thing Love Is, Still In Love was THE hit of 2004. 🔥 Debate with your mama. 🤷🏾♂️
I was happy Teena was signed to Cash Money, because it gave her exposure to be introduced to a new generation, keep the girls on their toes with her contemporary R&B bops, & just do the damn thing like always.
I always tell people La Doña is an album you have to hear before you die, because it’s that damn good. The last duet of Teena & Rick’s career rests here (I Got You,) & it’s so beautiful. It’s so tragic that he passed away the same year, because I would’ve LOVED to see them perform this song together. 😭😩
Favorites: Ooh Wee, God Has Created, Cruise Control, Sleeping with the Enemy, A.P.B., Make It Hot, You Blow Me Away, Resilient (Sapphire,) The Way You Love Me, Summer Down.
Teena’s last album with Cash Money is everything child. The duets with former Motown labelmate Smokey Robinson are just immaculate (God Has Created & Cruise Control). The flawless Ooh Wee will forever be one of my favorite songs PERIOD! 😭🙌🏾😩
Teena paid tribute to her lifelong collaborator and friend Rick James with “You Blow Me Away.” It’s such a beautiful song for people who’ve lost a loved one. Instead of a sad song about how you lost them, pay homage to them by saying how much eventful your life with them was. Teena also made a song for the Hurricane Katrina victims, which showcases why she was ALWAYS for the people.
Congo Square (2009):
Favorites: Can’t Last A Day, You Baby, Marry Me, Ear Candy 101, Soldier Boy, Ms. Coretta, Baby I Love You:
The last album released by Teena during her lifetime, Congo Square is everything I love about Teena y’all. Great funk records, but you can always expect a quiet storm bop from my love!
Teena working with Faith on Can’t Last A Day is everything to me because Faith has been my favorite singer my entire life! Omg 🙈😭😩🙌🏾
Favorites: Sweet Tooth, Luv Letter, Love Starved, The Long Play, Wild Horses, Maria Bonita (For My Mother,) Beautiful (For Alia,) Carte Blanche.
Sadly Teena passed away during the making of this album, & was finished by her daughter Alia Rose. Beautiful is an awesome album to complete Teena’s already flawless collection of music.
Luv Letter is one of my favorites, giving you classic Teena.
Teena Marie will forever be known as an important figure to the scene of R&B. She was rapping on square biz before most women in the R&B world were! A talented woman, Teena wrote and produced most of her catalog to prove that she didn’t have to rely on anyone to produce her quality work! She also played instruments! Like I think Teena was the ultimate package.
It’s really sad that the record labels she were on didn’t know how to make music videos for some of her most iconic records, but Teena left behind an incredible discography that we can cherish for eternity. Give Lady T her FLOWERS! 🌺🌸