SZA is always striving for balance.
The beloved 29-year-old TDE has threatened to quit music on more than one occasion, and despite the comforts that come with 5 Grammy nominations, a platinum record, and abundant fame, has remained humble and continued to nourish her personal growth. “This is a space where I feel like I’m growing and having a good time,” she told Glamour. “I’m learning a lot, but sometimes it gets to be a lot and I feel like I can’t grow in this space. Like, I have to do something different to grow.”
She presents herself as a sensitive empath, seemingly devoid of confrontational tendencies and able to walk away from R&B at any given moment. She has spoken openly about these anxieties, and the awkward scenarios her avoidance of confrontation has caused. “That time I caught my ex f*cking my homegirl from the back at a house party,” she tweeted back in July. “I checked every room in the house and they were in the LAST ONE…I really just said ‘oop SORRY !!’ And closed the door real fast…I walked all the way home in the dark alone and cried.”
SZA – Hit Different (Official Video) ft. Ty Dolla $ign
“Scared to admit my shortcomings led to overdraft in this affair,” SZA laments confidently over woozy synths and elastic drums courtesy of The Neptunes. The track itself, which finds the singer reflecting on a tumultuous open relationship, is slightly overpowered by Ty Dolla $ign’s dizzying hook, but new music from SZA is exciting for a multitude of other reasons. The vibe queen has seemed to strike the balance she has long sought, and take less sh*t in the process.
SZA is more than ever embracing her role as an R&B leader, and “Hit Different” was born in protest and from SZA digging her heels in rather than backing away. When label tension in her TDE camp boiled over a few weeks ago, Sza stood her ground, and called out the “hostile relationship” between her and TDE label head Punch. #FreeSZA began trending on Twitter, but a few weeks later, new music arrived to the delight of fans. SZA leaned into the protest a bit more, dropping another song snippet on her Instagram earlier today. “Punch gon (sic) kill me but I’m in a sharing mood,” she wrote. On the snippet, she can be heard crooning “moments stolen taste better,” once again indicative of the new wave SZA is on. She is taking her spot on the throne, whether people in power allow her to or not.
Rebellion is sowed into everything we do in 2020, and it can feel hopeless at times, but as shown by SZA’s confident prescience both on social media, and in her directorial debut with “Hit Different’s” flashy music video, rebellion can be its own special vibe, and that sometimes the act can pay off in small ways, like a new SZA song. Small victories like those definitely hit different in 2020. “I’ve never felt so loose in the world before,” SZA told Zane Lowe. “Sometimes I’m strong enough to just drop something and then two weeks passes and then I’m not strong anymore.” Is there anything more relatable right now than that feeling right there?