New Musical Express (NME) - 100 Based on rating 5/5
She's the exciting poster child for a more empowering, inclusive and diverse pop landscape. On her self-love anthem-packed third album, Lizzo proves she's the electric, complex pop star that the world needs Lizzo establishes herself with a bang on her fantastic third album. Straight off the bat, the Texas-born multi-hyphenate roars the title of the record, backed by an equally-charged full orchestra, as she admits unashamedly: "I'm crying cuz I love you".
At the root of Lizzo's major label debut, Cuz I Love You, is one sonic concept: "What if Aretha Franklin made a rap album?" In a world where genres continue to amalgamate, the rapper and singer, who has effortlessly blended the two genres in the past, raises the ante once more by also bringing forth soul, funk and rock for the 11-track project.
"I'm crying… cuz I love you!" Lizzo belts out almost into a howl to start the album. Immediately, the depths of her emotions capture your attention and launch themselves into a rollercoaster ….
The Lowdown: "HAVE U EVER SEEN A BITCH PLAY FLUTE THEN HIT THE SHOOT?" If you haven't seen this video of Lizzo, then the answer is probably no. But in October 2018, Lizzo, born Melissa Jefferson, grabbed the internet by the balls and demanded you know her name when a video of her doing exactly that graced thousands of Twitter timelines. It has over 200,000 favorites and garnered so much media attention that she was all but forced to put out the unreleased song being performed in it.
From future female empowerment anthem "Like a Girl" ("Woke up feeling like I just might run for president / Even if there ain't no precedent") to her ode to self-love "Soulmate", Lizzo 's themes are broad but her delivery and style make them stand out. Like her mentor Prince , she deftly switches between funk, pop and rock: from heavy power ballads (the title track; the ex-dressing-down "Jerome") to effervescent party-starters (lead single "Juice" and Gucci Mane-featuring "Exactly How I Feel"). Missy Elliott collaboration "Tempo" starts with a riff worthy of "When Doves Cry", before switching to a deep, sultry beat ("Slow songs/they for skinny hoes… I'm a thick bitch/I need tempo").
Lizzo's larger-than-life persona already captivates every audience she's put in front of thanks to her unabashed performances and bold fashion choices, but her music -- her MUSIC! -- has the ability to send shockwaves through the entire body. The Minneapolis-based powerhouse unleashed her first full-length for Atlantic Records, Cuz I Love You, earlier this month and it's evident with this project, she's mastered the art of self-empowerment and finally embraced her pipes of steel. From "Like A Girl" to "Soulmate," the dirty 30-year-old breath of fresh air exhales words that cut through the soul like an obsidian knife blade.
In an age where the same brands that once fed off our insecurities are now preaching messages of self-love, there's something refreshing about Lizzo's charismatic and free approach to her music. The message of 'Cuz I Love You' is clear: love yourself, have faith in your abilities and don't be afraid to call out the people that don't treat you how you deserve to be treated. From the power ballad of the title track and immature ex-bashing 'Jerome' through to the exuberance of single 'Juice' and femininity-celebrating album 'Like A Girl', power and self-confidence run through the record.
The precise moment of Lizzo's transformation has been viewed nearly 200,000 times. In 2014, the same year she released her frenzied rap debut Lizzobangers, the rapper-singer-flautist participated in a web series called The What's Underneath Project. In her episode, Lizzo sits on a stool before a brick wall and speaks warmly about the evolution of her self-image while shedding her clothing one piece at a time.
2019 has been a pretty big year for Lizzo and the quality of her major label debut, 'Cuz I Love You' makes it all the more grand. With a devoted online following and numerous chat show appearances, alongside her beloved flute Sasha (who happens to have her own Instagram page, with over 60,000 followers), Lizzo has become a symbol of self love, body confidence and female sexuality. In a society that continually devalues the voices of the plus size, women and black people, having a public figure that is unapologetically themselves and represents all of these is a joy to see.
Being unapologetically yourself is the truest expression of freedom. In her third album, Cuz I Love You, Lizzo shows us what it looks and sounds like when you embrace who you are. An infectious energy, singalong after singalong and beats to get down to. The only artist right now capable of rapping, singing - and playing the flute while backing it up.
For Lizzo's major-label debut album, "Cuz I Love You" (Nice Life Recording Company/Atlantic), the Minneapolis rapper/singer/body-positive advocate is in full cry from the get-go. Over 11 songs in 33 minutes, Lizzo rarely lets up, a relentless assault that favors excess verging on camp over subtlety. In shouting for attention, Lizzo and her producers - notably Ricky Reed and X Ambassadors - aim for radio singles rather than cohesive statements.