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In early 2012, Taylor was released from her contract with Interscope and Star Trak. Taylor admits that she and Star Trak founder Pharrell Williams, have remained amiable since the formal end of their business relationship. She credits him as a "big brother" and sees her early signing to Star Trak as a "blessing." Taylor has stated on many occasions, though, just how necessary her release from the label was, as well as how necessary it was for her to have a level of independence in the music industry for some time. In an interview with DJ Skee, Taylor mentioned that "when [she] was signed for six years, [she] felt like she couldn't do [anything]," and that she "couldn't prove to [her] fans that [she] had the talent" and "couldn't sing from [her] heart."
As an independent artist at the time of her release, she had begun preparing her second release, a mixtape titled The Misunderstanding of Teyana Taylor. The tape draws notable influences from 90s R&Bl legends like Lauryn Hill and Mary J. Blige. The tape was released in the first half of 2012, and was preceded by the release of "Make Your Move (feat. Wale)" and "D.U.I." (feat. Jadakiss & Fabolous), which was released on February 25, 2012. Reviews of the latter track noted that "The Harlem songstress channels Janet Jackson as she glides over the smooth Hit-Boy-produced beat with her airy vocals, while fellow New Yorkers Fabolous and Jadakiss ride shotgun".
After some time as an independent artist, and taking time to find herself as an artist and represent herself correctly in an artistic way, Teyana Taylor signed a joint-venture deal with Kanye West's label GOOD Music and The Island Def Jam Music Group, on June 14, 2012. Taylor had established a relationship with the whole GOOD family some time before her signing, particularly during the time she was asked to feature on Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. As part of GOOD Music, Taylor appears on the GOOD Music compilation album Cruel Summer, released September 18, 2012. She provides vocals for the opening track "To the World," with Kanye West and R. Kelly, provides the hook and chorus for "Sin City," which also features John Legend, Cyhi the Prynce, Malik Yusef and Travis Scott, and also duets with John Legend on a song titled "Bliss." Taylor and Legend's duet on the album was highly praised, Erika Ramirez of Billboard.com notes that "Teyana Taylor's beautifully brash voice ... illuminates in the electric-guitar heavy, Hudson Mohawke-produced 'Bliss'." Trent Fitzgerald of Popcrush.com also complimented the duet, saying that he hoped to "hear more soulful duets from [Taylor and Legend]."
In addition to featuring on Cruel Summer, Taylor is currently in the process of recording her major-label debut album, to be released eventually through GOOD Music and The Island Def Jam Music Group.