By Shannon Carlin
Being a part of Top Dawg Entertainment means you’re under a microscope, especially if you’re the label’s first female signee.
“People want to know if you’re worthy of being on TDE.”
That’s SZA, The First Lady of TDE. She also has to worry about the unfair comparisons made between her and the rest of the label’s roster, which includes Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul. “I read like a review and they were comparing me to rappers and I was like, ‘I don’t rap at all or do hip-hop,'” she said laughing.
SZA does her own thing. Her 10-track EP, Z, is an original mix of what she calls “alt-R&B” that has her waxing nostalgic about ripping heads off her sister’s Barbie dolls on the Chance the Rapper-assisted track, “Child’s Play” and comparing the smell of a boyfriends skin to Brussels sprouts on opener “UR.”
“Have you ever like laid in your bed with your dude for like multiple days…and you really like him, but the busted thing is he’s really dirty?” she asked. “That’s where that line came from. It’s kind of like this weird Brussels sprout-y, fart, wet smell. It’s weird and kind of gross, but it’s awesome.”
The EP also features guest spots from her TDE compatriots Isaiah Rashad on “Warm Winds”—her favorite track to listen to — and Kendrick on “Babylon.” Of course, the ability to call Kendrick into the studio no questions asked is one of the perks of being on TDE. A perk she willingly admits outweighs any of the drawbacks she previously mentioned.