“Lately I’ve bee questioning, am I all that I pretend to be. I doubt it.” — SZA, Green Mile
Z is the début EP from TDE beauty SZA. This crew don’t play, these men (more specifically) don ‘t play, bringing us a female vocalist that would be sharp in indie, hip hop, pop, r &b…whatever genre you like.
With her album cover resembling something sweet like a sugar and floral coated…adornment; SZA’s voice does not take long to warm up to, predominantly due to the style driving it.
Her vocals are delivered in a natural, I am not trying type-of-way and it’s the production choices that carry tracks 1-10 cohesively, as a solid package.
She reminds me of Corinne Bailey Rae, Lykki Li, and Vanessa Abrams from Gossip Girl, i.e. the stunningly beautiful weirdo who sings about boys on ‘HiiiJack’ and then gets together with Kendrick Lamar for the song ‘Babylon’ singing “I can’t recall the last time I took adive from anyone, shaped like a figure eight, who trusts pretty girls anyway”?
There’s a fusion between synthetic and ambient samples on Z that really, really work. The sound is not new, but for an artist being dropped into the ‘neo soul’ category, SZA and Z are extremely — forward.
It seems appropriate in this case, that Top Dawg Entertainment be labeled an indie label. SZA holds the writing credits for Z and it is this aspect that holds her in higher esteem than other female vocalists; production credits go to Emile Haynie, Mac Miller and others. A new term I’ve learned on Wikipedia since reading into SZA is this: PBR&B — also referred to as R-Neg-B, hipster R&B and alternative R&B. Would I put her on the same list as The Weeknd, Frank Ocean and Miguel…. Yeah.
Because Z drips and pulsates with that same edge, style and soul; with SZA walking a very fine line between sas, sex – all while raising a fist in the air. Gen Z is here.