I prioritized time to pen this piece after consuming the authentic words melodiously slipping off of SZA’s lips. A writer possesses the power to yield growth to those unaware of ways to prosper after trauma. Trauma has the effect of a grenade; it is potent and has the strength to leave an area barren and desolate for decades. Has trauma left you feeling empty, undeserving and unsure of yourself? Being an unsure Black creative wondering colonized land, I find myself afraid to pen the exact words necessary to ignite my healing process.
I was first introduced to SZA’s music few years back. A friend of mine recommended two of her prior records: teen spirit and Babylon featuring the incomparable Kendrick Lamar. Given time to resonate on my mind and heart, those records gave passage to my growing love for that particular style of music. Being a Caribbean lad occupying space in the states, I find myself disregarding various forms of music as a way to preserve my love for the music that raised me. SZA inscribe the exact sentiments folks like myself would be afraid to scribble inside the lining of our underwear. Sentiments so honest, freely flowing over appeasing instrumentals provide me with the vital message to keep my essays authentic.
Collectively, we have been approaching a contemporary renaissance era, musically. From Beyoncé’s acclaimed, ‘Lemonade”; to Solange’s ode to Blackness, ‘A Seat At The Table” and SZA’s debut album, “CTRL”. These projects all reflect varying veiled sentiments. It is a revolutionary act to simply amplify things termed as a taboo.
That is my greatest fear—that if I lost control or didn’t have control, things would just be fatal.
The album commenced with that relatively relatable quote from SZA’s mum. Initially, I wanted to formulate a record to record review, however I now desire to vaguely expound on the album’s premise. To not dilute the essence of individual records, I prefer to refrain from dissecting them. SZA singing like a precisely clasped tambourine about her personal experiences with men is partially the premise of the project. Most of the album simply paints a vivid image of SZA’s varying self-questioning and self-undermining thoughts. The ten-track sonically faultless masterpiece has the overall ambiance of an evening stroll under a glistening full moon. I’m ashamed to admit that I personally didn’t expect for the album to be this incredible. I’m unsure if this is a letter to SZA or simply penciled words stitched together to commemorate my love for SZA and her artistic honesty.