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In 2014’s hip-hop culture, built on stale rhymes about sex, money and drugs, Houston-bred, Minneapolis-based artist, Lizzo relies on inventive wordplay and an ability to seamlessly flow between rapping and singing to set her above the rest. Her debut solo release LIZZOBANGERS lives and dies by Lizzo’s unique delivery and cadence, fueled by the depth of her pop-culture, social and historic references, ranging from Lizzie Borden to Cogsworth to Anna Wintour.

LIZZOBANGERS crystallizes Lizzo’s multifaceted approach. The album is the result of a creative collaboration between Lizzo and producers Lazerbeak (Doomtree) and Ryan Olson (Gayngs/Polica). Described as being “audacious, raucously inventive and fun,” by The Boston Globe, the album displaces the stereotypes and expectations of what a rapper should sound like.

Beyond the pop references and inventive wordplay, LIZZOBANGERS goes deep into challenging stereotypes, societal norms and the state of our culture in a rare matter-of-fact and non-politicized way.

Born in Detroit in the late 80’s, Lizzo spent much of her formative years in the church, where she was raised on the gospel sounds of The Winans, The Clark Sisters, and Fred Hammond, along with mainstay secular artists such as Stevie Wonder and Elton John. At the age of 10 her family moved to Houston, TX, and Lizzo was exposed to a wide array of emerging Southern musical styles, from the trademark chopped and screwed rap tracks of the underground, to the progressive and polished R&B sounds of groups like Destiny’s Child that were raising the city’s national profile to new heights. In fact, it was after she skipped class to catch a Destiny’s Child performance at Wal-Mart that Lizzo—then a 5th grader– was inspired to start writing music on her own.

Over the next decade that decision would take her through the trenches of some of the most varied musical genres: R&B girl groups (I.N.I.T.I.A.L.S., Cornrow Clique, The Chalice), progressive rock bands (Elypseas), electro-pop duos (Lizzo & The Larva Ink), and her current trap-based hip-hop collective/crew GRRRL PRTY. Meanwhile, she graduated with a classical flute degree from the University of Houston and turned down a scholarship for graduate studies at the Paris Conservatory in order to pursue her current projects.

 

Lizzo plays The Paradise on Saturday, June 17. Showtime is 8 PM. Tickets are $18-$29.

@colormagazineusa