SZA’s “Ctrl” Empowers


SZA my dear, I love your music. Even though your album has been out for some time now, I must write about it. I fell in love with your surreal sound about a year ago when Spotify introduced us. At first, I was thrown off by your ethereal aura which resonates through much of your music, but it is also what caught me. I was instantly attached when I heard “Warm Winds.” The streaming service continues to keep this love strong when they throw in your tracks from time to time on my playlist. So of course, I feel I must dedicate time to addressing my feelings towards your latest project “Ctrl.”

SZA, you are phenomenal. Weird and honest. Beautiful and loving. An emotional warrior who is true to herself and owns her self-discovery through the highs and lows of relationships. It is the combination that I see and others see, that makes you so easy to vibe to. Thank you for going against the norm and charging forward in your truth. This expression of said truth is eminent in “Ctrl.” This songstress is rated R – raw, real and relatable. Her music stands a testament to what many of us want to say, but have difficulty in finding the words.

In her track “Normal Girl,” the beat has a trance like energy that intertwines with a hip hop sound. This track resonates with me through its message. Many want their parents to be proud of them. However, it is difficult to be yourself with the weighing feeling of your parents’ approval. Now to be approved by your lover’s folks too? Ugh! It’s tough to get a break.

I can hear the passion from her croons in “Broken Clocks.” I cannot see her, but I feel it in the way she sings. “Ohhhhhhh!” Yes girl, I hear you. Her story is truth; she sings of having an overwhelming job while dealing with a chummy dude. LIFE!!!!! Hahahaha. Many of us deal with situations in which we shouldn’t entertain our energy into. But yet, nothing is ever so simple to do, because you know, “You love me.”

SZA continues in tales of self-discovery through “Pretty Little Birds.” Poor aves, they got to deal with flying into the stupid window repeatedly. And yet, they still flap their little wings and fly towards the sky. “Pretty Little Girls, Pretty Little Girls, we hit the window a few times;” in truth we are very much like these feathered creatures in how we make mistakes but are dynamic in our strength to never give up. My soul wants to twirl to this track. Heavenly and full of flight, the collection of sounds can make one want to soar.

Ms. Twenty Something herself reveals her truth about the fear of love, not being where she thinks she should be and holding onto those who matter most to her heart in “20 Something.” We stumble through these times making mistakes repeatedly trying to figure how to do this adult thing right. May she survive the stormy waves of this period; when the waves are rough they always become calm again.

Another tune about birds comes through in “Doves in the Wind.” The song is lit. The end. Oh, and clearly, we control men with our babymaker “flowers.” With bars from Kendrick Lamar describing the wonders of our wombs and the hype, the smooth sound pounce into the ears making one enamored with excitement from the track. Sit back, bob your head and chill to this feature.

SZA packs in a gutsy punch of honesty in  “Supermodel.” We all want to be a supermodel to someone. Perfect skin, hair, butt, boobs, abs, lips or whatever it is that society is telling you must be excellent in to make you a match for that person. She goes in on this track letting it all pour out on how much she needed her man and how she gave him a gift of “dirt” after he left her for someone else.

“Why I can’t stay alone just by myself, wish I was comfortable just by myself, but I need you, I need you, I need you.”

Whoever is reading this, I want you to look in the mirror, look into your eyes and say “I need you.” There is no one out there that can do more for you than yourself. You can be happy with yourself. You can have peace by yourself. Whatever you are looking for in that other person is already residing right from within. Heaven knows, I used to feel like I needed to be someone’s supermodel, but I am super in just being myself; flaws and all. Know that you are too.

More tunes from this package of sound give me life through her journey of sharing a man in “The Weekend,” not-your-average girl anthem in “Drew Barrymore,” her bubbly wild tale “Love Galore and more. SZA makes us listen and warms the hidden parts of us afraid to live in our imperfect truth. This daring dive into her attempts for control decked out in 80s sounding nostalgia and hip hop grooves allow one to feel freer in accepting their own truth. For sure, I know I do. Thank you Queen for doing what you do best and never feel afraid to lose control.

Been to the Moon by Corinne Bailey Rae

This songstress has kept away from us for far too long. Yes! I know she has her own life. But Corinne Bailey Rae’s music has always been just the right sound I needed to hear without even knowing it. I am truly pleased to hear that she’s making music again. In her latest video, “Been to the Moon,” one can see how far she’s grown musically. The sound has a celestial approach that leaps along with her sweet, soft croons. Feel the heart of this production at the chorus – her voice soulfully intertwines with the light changes of the beat. This psychedelic track is a marriage between the new and the old. Don’t let your ears meander away from it; take a listen below.


What You Don’t Do – Lianne La Havas

Ahhhhh! You cannot help but love this woman. I will say it ten thousand times or a million if I have to, but there is something truly soulful breeding in the UK for them to just produce so much incredible talent. My ears cannot help but do a little metaphorical dance of joy when tuning into Lianne La Havas’s sound. Her latest track “What You Don’t Do” is a precious little gem ready to make any girl kick up her skirt, spread a shy smile, and giggle from its complete cuteness. The way La Havas subtly sashays throughout the video to her gorgeous vibrant choice of clothing brings together a delightful display for the eyes to swoon to. The utter pleasure of knowing the few simple movements that show adoration from the one who loves you is an excellent message for her light vocals to speak about. Take in the sweet sensuality of “What You Don’t Do” below.

Unstoppable by Lianne La Havas

Trust, this video will have you thinking about your significant other or your crush. You will literally feel the warmth of their comforting touch as the tune melts into your membrane and the “Lianne La Havas” effect begins. You know what I’m talking about right? Comfort and joy intertwined in an effortless leap of pure bliss is the formula for this desirable feeling. I want this song. If you could get me this song, I will love you forever. The low, cool tempos of “Unstoppable” will have you feeling like you’re walking on air. Watching her seamlessly dance will make you want to join her while her soft, cotton like croons will only magnify the sensation to get up and move. Be “Unstoppable” in all that you do this week and enjoy the video below.

Feel Right by Mark Ronson Featuring Mystikal

“This goes out to all the playa hating teachers who won’t let a real gangsta shine.” Said by “Mrs. Brady” herself, those words alone let you know this video is going to be awesome sauce. I can’t control myself because “Feel Right” by Mark Ronson and Mystikal contains so much soul. It’s as if Ronson took all the sweat and energy from James Brown and put into this song. The little muchkin performing is too dope for the average world to comprehend. My laptop is even shaking from the funk emitting from this track. You can’t help but say “Right” as the chorus chimes on. Get down with your bad self and check this funky groove below.


Old Hat by Van Hunt


It’s been a minute since my ears have perked up from the soul moving sounds from Van Hunt. An effortless smile used to spread across my face among the beads of sweat due to the heat emanating from his amazing track “Down Here In Hell (With You),” – a tune I fell in love with years ago. Now Hunt brings us with a song cut from the very essence of what funk and soul should sound like in his latest single “Old Hat.” I dare you to keep your foot from tapping or your hands from pushing together to create a sound designed by joy. Feel the essence of his roots as Hunt hangs his old hat in this tune emanating with the comforts of home. Let your body flow to the melody of this classic sound here.


Love is the Answer – Aloe Blacc

Music and education mingles, dates, falls in love and then creates a beautiful production together in Aloe Blacc’s “Love is the Answer.” The message in this video couldn’t be any more stronger. It tells the story of two brothers who face a different path in their high school journey after getting split up from their parents. One goes on to becoming a football great and gets accepted into college. Unfortunately, the other gets kicked out of school, turns to the streets and ends up in jail. It could have been better for the both of them if a little love and compassion was given.

This country is facing so many problems in the education system. But rarely do I ever see the media or anyone shedding light to the school to prison pipeline. It exists. I still remember watching kids in school getting suspended all the time. Eventually some would just disappear and you would never see them in school again. Love should always be the answer. Negative actions towards negative behavior just gives energy to the problem. The kids who act up have a lot going on and it’s not fair to just shut them out of an education that everyone deserves. Anyway, I could go on. Not only is the message in this video on point, but the beat has a nice groove to it as well. I love this video for combining my too loves of education and music. Aloe Blacc is not only an entertainer, but also an activist in bringing awareness to important issues in our society. I’m definitely a supporter of his music as well as his message.