Lizzo's Cuz I Love You: What You Need To Know
For hip-hop fans living in the Twin Cities area of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, rapper, singer and flautist Lizzo has been a much-loved fixture on the local music scene for some time now, both as a solo artist and as a member of various groups, including electro-soul duo Lizzo & The Lava Ink and alternative hip-hop trio The Chalice. Her work with the latter saw Lizzo getting noticed by Minneapolis' most famous native, Prince, which subsequently led to the trio appearing on a track featured on 3rdEyeGirl's album Plectrumelectrum in 2014.
By then, Lizzo already had a self-released debut album, Lizzobangers, under her belt and released its follow-up Big Grrrl Small World the following year, which began attracting attention from major record labels. After inking a deal with Atlantic Records, Lizzo delivered her first major-label EP Coconut Oil in 2016, which included her hit single 'Good as Hell', and this week Lizzo unveils her third full-length album (and her major-label debut) Cuz I Love You. Here's everything you need to know...
A little background...
Since the release of Coconut Oil, Lizzo has delivered several non-album singles and popped up on various others by the likes of Speedy Ortiz and fellow Minneapolis resident P.O.S., as well as touring throughout 2018 with Haim and Florence and the Machine. She's also been popping up on TV screens as host of MTV's Wonderland and her voice is set to feature in Kelly Asbury's upcoming animated musical UglyDolls, alongside a cast that also includes Kelly Clarkson, Janelle Monae, Nick Jonas and Charli XCX.
'Juice', the lead-off single from the new album, arrived in January this, followed by the unveiling of the album's title track and release date in February.
Who's producing it?
There are a handful of producers making contributions to the new album, including Ricky Reed, who worked on Lizzo's Coconut Oil EP, Nate Mercereau, X Ambassadors and Warren 'Oak' Felder, to name a few.
Any special guests?
Just a couple - Gucci Mane puts in an appearance on deep cut 'Exactly How I Feel', while rap legend Missy Elliott adds her unique touch to the recently-released single 'Tempo'.
What does it sound like?
Perhaps even more so than on her previous albums, on Cuz I Love You Lizzo effortlessly straddles the line between glossy pop tunes and grimy hip-hop bangers – a contrast that is evident between songs like the disco-infused dancefloor bop of 'Juice' and the sparse, pounding rhythms of 'Tempo'.
But these are just two extremes on an album with a huge amount of stylistic variety. On the album's title track, an old-school soul ballad with a contemporary twist, Lizzo opens up the taps with a vocal performance that provides proof, if any were needed, that her raw power as a singer is every bit the equal of her impressive skill as a rapper.
Does it deliver?
Lizzo has won plenty of admirers thanks to her larger-than-life live performances and while the production feels a little slicker on Cuz I Love You than on her previous albums, the raw energy is still there and there's plenty of evidence on the new album that Lizzo has advanced as both a singer and a songwriter. With everything from powerful ballads to dancefloor bangers, the new album is a confident stride forwards that'll no doubt please her existing fans and earn her some new ones too.
Cuz I Love You is available in hmv stores now.