2019 has been a pretty big year for Lizzo and the quality of her major label debut, ‘Cuz I Love You’ makes it all the more grand.
With a devoted online following and numerous chat show appearances, alongside her beloved flute Sasha (who happens to have her own Instagram page, with over 60,000 followers), Lizzo has become a symbol of self love, body confidence and female sexuality. In a society that continually devalues the voices of the plus size, women and black people, having a public figure that is unapologetically themselves and represents all of these is a joy to see.
This record justifies her devoted following and rising public profile. Storming in with opening title track ‘Cuz I Love You’, Lizzo’s vulnerability is laid bare, while her vocal dexterity is further apparent on the similarly retro ‘Jerome’. ‘Cry Baby’, a track that could easily be compared to the work of the late Prince – who Lizzo worked with on his 2014 album ‘Plectrumelectrum’ – further evidences her unrepentant nature.
With the refrain, “This big girl’s got to cry”, Lizzo alludes not only to her size but also her maturity, showing that she and her fans alike should not be viewed as ‘less than’ for showing emotion or being their true selves.
Teaming up with Missy Elliott on ‘Tempo’, a similarly unapologetic figure, the two artists champion big girls in a brilliantly frank way. Waxing lyrical about the benefits of having curves, it’s a battle cry for those who have been body shamed.
Whilst she remains confident throughout ‘Cuz I Love You’, Lizzo is perhaps at her most defiant on ‘Exactly How I Feel’, in which she unleashes her message to her haters: “Love me or hate me/Ooh I ain’t changing and I don’t give a f***”.
Offering up a mix of pop, hip-hop, R&B and a sprinkling of trap and neo soul for good measure, Lizzo covers all bases and serves the perfect introduction to her world for mainstream audiences. After all, this is Lizzo’s world; we’re just living in it.
Words: Jumi Akinfenwa
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