Today (Apr. 19), Lizzo released her highly anticipated major label debut album Cuz I Love You.
Last month, Lizzo declared in Allure magazine that she’s a “body positive, pro-black, feminist,” and Cuz I Love You is clearly a reflection of that.
“When all the dust has settled, I’m going to still be doing this. I’m not going to suddenly change. I’m going to still be telling my life story through music,” Lizzo explained.
“And if that’s body positive to you, amen. That’s feminist to you, amen. If that’s pro-black to you, amen. Because ma’am, I’m all of those things.”
The album opens up with the title track, “Cuz I Love You,” where her vocal capabilities shine and the songstress and rapper shows that she’s comfortable enough to be vulnerable. She sings and raps about never being in love before and grappling with her newfound feelings.
“Got me standing in the rain. Gotta get my hair pressed again. I would do it for you all, my friend. Ready baby? Will you be my man,” Lizzo raps on the second verse before belting out, “I’m crying cause I love you,” from the deepest parts of her diaphragm.
One might think from the album opening up with a vulnerable track like “Cuz I Love You” that Lizzo’s third studio album was going to be one of those “I’m heartbroken” albums, but she quickly switches gears on the second track “Like A Girl.”
“Woke up feeling like I just might run for president, even if there ain’t no precedent. Switching up the messaging. I’m about to add a little estrogen. Buy my whip by myself. Pay my rent by myself,” Lizzo raps on “Like A Girl”. “Only exes that I care about are in my f**king chromosomes. I don’t really need ya. I’m Macaulay Culkin Home Alone. Bad B***h. Diamonds in my collar bone.”
From a quick listen, “Like A Girl” sounds like a universal women’s anthem (which it certainly could be), but Lizzo is specifically noting a black cultural experience.
“I be up in Magic City bustin’ hunnids by the bands. And I throw it like a girl. Throw it, throw it. Like a girl,” the Detroit native sings on the hook. If you’ve ever been to Magic City in Atlanta (or any strip club in Atlanta), you’d know that it is, very specifically, a black cultural experience.
She also makes a point to shout out black women, recognizing Lauryn Hill, Serena Williams, and TLC.
On “Soulmate,” Lizzo declares that she doesn’t need a soulmate because she’s always going to hold herself down. “I know I’m a queen, but I don’t need no crown. Look up in the mirror like, ‘Damn she the one.’ Bad b***h in the mirror like yea I’m in love. Like yea I’m in love,” Lizzo sings on the hook of “Soulmate.” “And she never tells me to exercise. We always get extra fries and you know the sex is fire. And I gotta testify. I get flowers every Sunday. I’mma marry me one day.”
Directly after, on “Jerome” Lizzo sings about letting a f**k boy go, and not being distracted by his antics. It sounds like a track that Etta James would sing if she were around during the era of women denouncing men who aren’t sh**.
Lizzo lets men know that they should feel privileged when she loves them on “Cry Baby.” “You should feel honored boy, uh. You got me feelin’ this much,” she sings. She directly admits that she feels vulnerable on the track, but wants her man to not take advantage of that.
Missy Elliott assists Lizzo on “Tempo,” a new twerk anthem for curvaceous thick girls. “Slow songs, they for skinny hoes. Can’t move all this here to one of those. I’m a thick b***h, I need tempo,” Lizzo sings on the hook. She wants you to know that she has jelly and she can’t shake it to a slow song. The fact that Lizzo intentionally handpicked Missy Elliott, one of the first black women to garner commercial success in hip-hop while being plus size for that track, shows that Lizzo wants us to know that “thick girls” are iconic. The “Juice” singer even wrote a heartfelt message on Instagram a few weeks ago about how Missy Elliott made her feel seen.
“Love me or hate me. Ooh I ain’t changing. And I don’t give a f**k. That’s exactly how I feel,” Lizzo sings on the Gucci Mane-assisted “That’s How I Feel.” The track is about not being apologetic for feeling emotional. She lets women know that it’s okay to cry, or to wake up on the “wrong side of the bed,” and they don’t have to explain why. The track is a great declaration, especially for black women, who are often pegged as “angry” anytime they’re not skipping down the block with a permanent smile.
“Big d**k energy. Taste like collard greens. Big a** patty cake. Happy days,” Lizzo sings on “Better In Color,” where she simply declares that love looks better in color.
Cuz I Love You concludes with “Lingerie,” a flirty track where Lizzo sings about lounging around in her lingerie and exposing herself because she wants to be prepared “just in case” her lover swings her way. “I don’t got no secrets you don’t know. These panties are see-through, I’m exposed, yeah. Treat you with my body, my eyes closed. Baby, let me feel you close. You make me crescendo,” she sings. Here she lets her listeners know that plus size women are just as sexual as the next and are not just comical Suzy homemakers and caretakers as the media often portrays.
In a nutshell, Cuz I Love You is just as body positive, pro-black, and feminist as Lizzo is, and this summer will most likely be filled with Instagram captions comprised of quotes from the refreshing album.
Glennisha Morgan is a Detroit-bred multimedia journalist and writer. She writes about intersectionality, hip-hop, pop culture, queer issues, race, feminism, and her truth. Follow her on Twitter.