Check my nails
Baby, how you feeling?
(FEELING GOOD AS HELL!)
Melissa Viviane Jefferson (born April 27, 1988), better known as Lizzo, is an American singer, rapper, actress, flutist, and general force of personality.
She was born in Detroit, Michigan, but moved to Houston, Texas as a child. When her father died when she was 21, she devoted herself to making it in the music business, and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota after living out of her car for a year. There, she was briefly in an all-female group called The Chalice, but she had more success with her alternative hip-hop solo debut, Lizzobangers, released on Totally Gross National Product in 2013, and re-released through Virgin Records in 2014. The album was produced by Lazerbeak. To promote the album, Lizzo toured the US and UK opening for Har Mar Superstar. She made an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman during this period.
Lizzo got the chance to work with one of her biggest influences when she made an Early-Bird Cameo with her Chalice bandmates and got featured on Prince's song "BOYTROUBLE" (from his album PLECTRUMELECTRUM). Lizzo called this experience a "fairy tale", and appreciated that Prince let her and her bandmates "do whatever we wanted."
The tail end of 2015 saw her second album get released on her own label, BGSW, entitled Big Grrrl Small World. This was recorded in Wisconsin at Justin Vernon's April Base Studios. It features "My Skin," an early example of one of Lizzo's many Self Empowerment Anthems, which Lizzo called "the thesis statement of the album." A review of the album, from Andrea Swensson of The Current, summed up Lizzo's whole vibe by saying that "There's an old feminist adage that says that the personal is political, and Lizzo seems to understand this concept intrinsically."
Then, things took a turn in 2016 when Lizzo signed to Atlantic Records. Her first release for them was the Coconut Oil EP, which switched her sound up and adopted more of a pop-rap approach with sounds of classic Soul and R&B. The first single, the Motown-inspired "Good As Hell," slowly gained traction just as her career did, and she toured with a group of dancers she dubbed the Big Grrrls, all plus-sized dancers. In the tenth and fourteenth seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race, she appeared as a guest judge.
In April of 2019, Cuz I Love You, her full-length debut for Atlantic, was released. 2017 single "Truth Hurts" was added to the deluxe edition after it gradually rose in popularity. The album also features booty anthem "Tempo" featuring another of Lizzo's biggest influences, Missy Elliott. The album became her mainstream breakthrough, and it pushed her to several nominations at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards, including Best New Artist (a fan-voted award where she came in second to Billie Eilish), Push Artist of the Year, Best Power Anthem ("Tempo") and Song Of The Summer ("Truth Hurts").
Lizzo signed a deal with Amazon Studios to develop projects. The first one, an unscripted reality competition show, Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, premiered on March 24, 2022, featuring dancers competing for the chance to become part of the Big Grrrls group. The show was nominated in the Best Competition Program category at the 2022 Emmy Awards, resulting in a win and in Lizzo's first Emmy.
Lizzo is a huge advocate for Black Lives Matter, for body positivity, and for you, the person reading this, to love yourself as you are.
- Lizzobangers (2013)
- Big Grrrl Small World (2015)
- Coconut Oil EP (2017)
- Cuz I Love You (2019)
- Special (2022)
Tropes ("I've been WAITIN' for THIS one!"):
- Acrofatic: Her dancing would be impressive for a girl half her size.
- Alternative Hip Hop: Before signing with Atlantic, she was a prominent member of Minneapolis' alternative hip-hop scene, making genre-bending hip-hop infused with punk, electronica, and soul.
- Bait-and-Switch: "En Love" starts out with soulful vocals and flowery, affectionate lyrics, leading the listener to assume it's a Silly Love Song before a passionately vocalized "I think I'm in loooooove..." finishes off with a smirking "with myself", revealing the song's true nature: a danceable, upbeat Self-Empowerment Anthem.
- Big Beautiful Woman: Aside from being plus size and gorgeous, she extends that trip to her musical performances and the songs. Matter of fact, she even poses naked for the cover art of Cuz I Love You.
- Big Fun: Lizzo's fans see her as this due to her larger-than-life personality and the pride she takes in her larger figure.
- On streaming services, "Hot Dish" features a lyric that goes "Lower than scum? What's lower than scum, what's-" before cutting itself off abruptly. Physical copies of Lizzobangers reveal said lyric was originally "What's lower than scum, what's slower than dumb?". The second clause was presumably removed due to "slow" being a pejorative term for neurodivergent people.
- Similarly, "Grrrls" originally featured the lyric "Do you see this shit? Imma spaz". This lyric was widely criticized for its casual usage of the word "spaz", which is considered an ableist slur in the UK despite being a fairly innocuous slang term in the US. The song was later re-released with the original lyric changed to "Do you see this shit? Hold me back".
- Break Up Song:
- "Jerome", in which she admits the guy is very attractive, but also immature, and needs to grow up before she'll consider keeping him around.
- "Good as Hell" is a unique example, as it's told from the point of view of someone who isn't in the relationship, but rather the woman's friend, telling her she's better off without him.
- "Truth Hurts" is celebrating the end of a relationship with a guy who only wanted the narrator to be his side piece, because screw that.
- Broken Pedestal: The famous line from "Truth Hurts"; you know the line: "Why men great till they gotta be great?"
- Ironically, the line "New man on the Minnesota Vikings" refers to a team infamous for breaking its own pedestal repeatedly through four Super Bowl losses in the 1960s-1970s and not getting past the NFC Championship Game to the Super Bowl in 45 years.
- Call-Back: "Am I Ready (2 B Loved)" calls back to "Truth Hurts" with the line "that truth it hurts", emphasised by the song's music videos being loosely connected, with the "Am I Ready" video depicting present Lizzo interacting with her past self in "Truth Hurts".
- Celebrity Is Overrated: In "Go", Lizzo discusses how the stress of her local (at the time - keep in mind this was 2014) fame makes it hard for her to form and maintain romantic relationships.Will you miss me, baby, when I'm touringOr will you find someone that's less importantBut worth exploring, I'm torn in piecesSo much to do, hold on, gotta write these featuresI'm listening, but not really, you know us artist types
- Child Prodigy: She got into music playing the flute, and was good enough to earn a scholarship to study Classical Flute at the University of Houston.
- Cover Version: For the soundtrack to Happy Death Day 2U, she did a cover of "Stayin' Alive" by The Bee Gees, which is pretty fitting for a horror-comedy.
- Early-Bird Cameo: The aforementioned one on Prince's song "BOYTROUBLE." was an early entry into the now-rich history of Lizzo making and contributing to mainstream music.
- Girls vs. Boys Plot: In "Pants vs. Dress", she narrates a rap battle between herself and a male adversary presented as a battle-of-the-sexes of sorts, hence the title. Naturally, she wins handily.
- I'll Be in My Bunk: "Scuse Me", where she lauds her own beauty and prowess before recommending that the listener excuse her while she "feels herself".
- I Call It "Vera": Her flute is named "Sasha Flute". She has her own Instagram page!
- List Song: "Boys" is a textbook example - the second verse is nothing but a list of all the types of boys that Lizzo enjoys.
- Melismatic Vocals: She was known as a rapper first, but she is no slouch whatsoever when it comes to singing. She started singing when she made the song "Worship" for Coconut Oil, and could already do some of this, but "Cuz I Love You" also has some.
- New Sound Album: Coconut Oil is where Lizzo unabashedly embraced pop after mostly trafficking in hip-hop and its adjacent genres.
- Pep-Talk Song: "Good As Hell" is this combined with Self-Empowerment Anthem, telling the person it's addressed to that it's better to be single and love themselves than stay in a relationship with someone that doesn't care.
- Self-Empowerment Anthem: Lizzo's raison d'être.
- "My Skin" is a celebration of Lizzo's Blackness in which she recognizes her "brown skin" as an essential part of herself and thus a point of pride.
- "Tempo" celebrates the dance skills and beauty of big girls.
- "Boys" is the rare one for, well, boys - its lyrics openly celebrate boys of all sizes, creeds, and types, recognizing even the often-overlooked types of boys as attractive and lovable.
- "Good as Hell" assures a recent break-up victim that they have worth of their own and deserve to flaunt it instead of being bogged down by their ex-partner's rejection.
- "En Love" is a subversion of a standard love song - rather than her love for someone else, Lizzo spends the song raving about her love for herself.
- Record Producer: Ricky Reed has produced the majority of her biggest hits, including "Truth Hurts", "Good as Hell", "Juice", "Boys", "Tempo", "Rumors" and "About Damn Time".
- Sequel Song: "W.E.R.K. Pt. II", aptly, to "W.E.R.K." Where the first was a straightforward rap banger with a chorus espousing the virtues of "looking like a girl, acting like a lady, thinking like a man, and working like a boss", its sequel goes into more depth on that philosophy while firing back at those who would criticize it.Lookin' like a girl, 'cause I'm keeping it youthfulSuch a freakin' lady, classy and beautifulThinking like a man, for those who don't understandIs having two grips to gain the upper hand
- Studio Chatter: Right at the end of "Like a Girl":"Shit, fuck, I didn't know it was ending right there!"
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: Lizzobangers is largely populated by abrasive, braggadocious alt-rap bangers, with the exception of "Go", a slow and somber song about the trappings of fame.
- Title-Only Chorus: The chorus of "Batches and Cookies" is literally just "I got my batches and cookies" repeated sixteen times, occasionally interrupted with "I got my what?".