Can’t really explain why I didn’t post this cover story I did for Flaunt on here months ago. But this is a goodie. The interview happened just before SZA began prepping for her Coachella weekends. I met her on set for the cover shoot and from the start, I knew—at least—that she’d be warm and kind.
Her publicist guided her over to me. “This is Brad,” I heard her tell the singer as they approached. I extended my hand for a shake and for a split second I thought she was going to leave me hanging. SZA looked right past it. We all know that anxious feeling when you think you’re about to be made to look like a fool. It consumed me. Then, boom. She walked right into my chest for a hug. There was an awkward relief. “Oh!” I thought. “This is going be good and different.”
From there, she was pretty open and just the unique blend of quirky and cool that anyone who’s listened to her debut album Ctrl would expect her to be. We talked about insecurities, depression, and fantasies as she munched on her Shake Shack chicken burger.
SZA’s had a roller coaster existence as of late. On the high side, she just dropped her earthy “Garden (Say It Like Dat)” video, where she and Donald Glover get close in the forest. She can also be found making a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance in Childish Gambino’s “This is America” video, shooting a coy look our way before Glover gets loose on a car roof.
On the low end, she has reportedly run her voice ragged. When I saw her in May at the Forum performing during her set at TDE’s Championship Tour, she sounded solid. But her pipes, she said recently on Twitter, are busted. “My voice is permanently injured,” SZA wrote. She can be a bit dramatic at times, I notice. Top Dawg CEO Anthony Tiffith just told fans, “ I will get her with the best doctors and she will be fine.” I believe him.
When SZA and I spoke, she said she’s anxious to get started on her sophomore album. Obviously, it’ll probably be a while before she’s at full strength in the studio. But if you’re looking to learn a bit more about the Jersey hugger, read my cover story here.
Last week I hit the Forum in Los Angeles for the Championship Tour, which features Kendrick Lamar, SZA Schoolboy Q and the rest of Top Dawg Entertainment’s roster. I’ve seen both Lamar and SZA in the last year. But this trek was a refreshed, abbreviated version of their 2017 tours and it was an added treat to see Q, Isaiah Rashad and Jay Rock for a bit.
I was hanging with buds from Nike, who were introducing their collab line with TDE via the SNKRS Stash experience. Concert attendees with the SNKRS app were alerted around 9:30pm through push notifications that Lamar’s Cortez Kenny III available for purchase. Of course, they sold out in minutes. But Nike’s move adds a nice touch, beyond exclusivity. Not only do you have to have the Internet and quick fingers, but also be at the specific location your favorite rapper is to get clothes and kicks that rep his team.
This weekend the SNKRS Stash app returns for the Championship Tour’s Houston stop. Look at the dates below to find out where else you can be a part of the action:
Houston, TX at Social Status – May 19-20
New York, NY at Concepts – May 26-30
Boston, MA at Bodega – June 4-5
Toronto, ON at Livestock – June 11-12
Chicago, IL at Notre – June 14-15
Kendrick Lamar dropped his new track, “Humble” yesterday. Fans and pundits alike went gaga over it. The verdicts vary but are overall joyous. They’re cheerful hearing Kung Fu Kenny kick bars over simpler Hip-Hop production (it’s an ominous Mike WiLL Made It doing, less intricate than To Pimp a Butterfly’s jazzy musicianship) and, frankly, delighted that the rapper is still talking his shit—clowning junky stars and also those who aren’t honest in their representations of themselves. The messaging in its Dave Meyers-directed video is noteworthy, too. So much so that I wrote about it for Billboard.
I’m not going to ruin it for you, but I will tease it with the opening paragraph:
As the opportunity to exaggerate our best features and highlight only portions of our lives grows thanks to the magic of Instagram filters and Twitter posts, Kendrick Lamar has noticed what apparently many have yet to: The world — his generation, at least — is shifting away from practicing humility and authenticity. Blowhard fakes are flourishing faster than a showoff can say “Clarendon” or “Send tweet.”
Give it a read. April 7, the release date for Kendrick’s third LP, can’t come soon enough.