via The Line of Best Fit

Rating: 5 stars

On April 19, the rapper and flutist Lizzo made her highly anticipated major-label debut with her new album, “Cuz I Love You.” The album features tracks which encompass the female experience while promoting empowerment and self-love.

The album begins with Lizzo’s passionate voice belting “I’m crying, cause I love you,” immediately followed by the introduction of a strong big band sound that fluctuates throughout the track. The rest of the album contains both quiet reflections and songs that are impossible not to dance to.

In this album, Lizzo makes self-love and acceptance look easy. She acknowledges the trials that come with growth and following your gut, but her lyricism implies that these obstacles, when faced head-on, can lead to the discovery of one’s best self. On her track “Soulmate,” she imparts words of wisdom surrounding self-acceptance; “True love ain’t something you can buy yourself / True love only happens when you’re by yourself.” Lines like this ground Lizzo’s zealous personality, with an understanding that her confidence has been earned and fought for.

The album’s fifth track, “Jerome,” is a ballad dedicated to Lizzo’s ex-boyfriend, which contrasts the elated energy of the proceeding songs. Lizzo dissects the emotions that come with breaking up with someone she isn’t compatible with, even though it may look good on paper or is a source of easy satisfaction. The dynamic narrative of the song comes from her desire for his personal growth, and recognition that she is doing them both a favor by ending things. However, even in the vulnerability and intimacy of this song, there is no moment where Lizzo doesn’t come across as autonomous and empowered.

In an interview with The Cut, Lizzo talked about creating modern, body-positive music. She talked about people’s surprise at her confidence and cockiness. When she says she loves herself people paint her as brave and political, but says she isn’t trying to align with any societal labels.

“Even when body positivity is over, it’s not like I’m going to be a thin white woman. I’m going to be black and fat. That’s just hopping on a trend and expecting people to blindly love themselves. That’s fake love. I’m trying to figure out how to actually live it,” Lizzo said.

After its release, the album quickly topped the charts, including being ranked the number one album in the United States on iTunes. The album’s 11 tracks create a cumulative 33 minutes experience, making it the perfect pump up album to listen to on your commute or while getting ready for a night out.
Both Missy Elliott and Gucci Mane appear as supporting voices of the album, which show Lizzo as a recognizably powerful new player in the pop rap and rhythm and blues scene. In addition to creating powerful music, her ability to share a piece of her authentic self makes Lizzo stand out in the crowd.

It is her genuine search for self-love that makes Lizzo’s music more than just something to dance to, it is an album to live by.