This artist needs very little introduction


SZA’s new album Crtl, released on June 9th, combines the sounds of Neo Soul, R&B, and Hip Hop. It mixes sounds and rhythms that stand apart from the typical radio or club hits that we hear today. Born Solana Imani Rowe in St. Louis, MO, SZA was raised in an orthodox Muslim household, sheltered from the influences of television and radio.

Only through her interactions with her friends and older siblings did she get the chance to hear Hip Hop of the time, namely Wu-Tang Clan, Lil Jon and Cash Money.Her follow-up EP was S, which was released in 2013, followed by Z in 2014.  Her album Ctrl was originally announced under the name A, but was later changed. SZA got her start in the music industry at 19 by doing background vocals for her brother. 


A smidge of background

This album comes through speakers like a breath of fresh air.  I’m pretty late to the party, and after some research, it was clear that this artist has been around far longer than I ever imagined. What I love about her sound, is that she is at once energetic and chill. “She was later discovered by Punch in 2011 at a music industry event, while she was there working for a clothing brand.  A friend was playing her music and Punch overheard, which led to her 2012 release of “See.SZA.Run” and later being signed by TDE in 2013.”

She reeks of confidence, which comes through effortlessly in her performances.  I listened to the latest album for the last week, and I have not gotten tired of it yet, which is rare for me.  I will say that some of the songs are a miss, with some far-fetched lyrics and questionable beats.  Overall this is an A- effort, and a hard-won victory.  SZA gets the artist spotlight for being herself and being damn good at it.




In October of last year, SZA tweeted “I actually quit.  @iamstillpunch can release my album if he ever feels like it. Y’all be blessed”.  The news outlets began reporting that SZA was quitting music for good, even though the tweet was deleted later that day.  SZA said that the anxiety and frustration she was feeling in her life led her to consider walking away from music. Thankfully, none of that happened and today we have this rare gem to get us through the summer!

Check out a sample of her tracks below.