Lizzo Finding Rap Success In Her Own Way

By Greg Kot
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A recent EP for Atlantic, “Coconut Oil,” is paving the way for what rapper-singer “Lizzo” anticipates will be her debut major-label album after a series of well-received indie releases since 2010.

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Lizzo may be making some inroads into the mainstream, but she’s doing it by owning and often accentuating her differences.

She’s that rare rapper-singer who can also lay down a flute solo. She’s toured as an opening act for Sleater-Kinney (on the band’s 2015 comeback tour) and recorded with the late, great Prince (the 2014 single “Boytrouble”).

Her music blends everything from indie-rock to gospel, and accentuates her body-positive and feminist viewpoints with a sense of sassiness and sexiness that makes it not just empowering but fun.

A recent EP for Atlantic, “Coconut Oil,” is paving the way for what she anticipates will be her debut major-label album after a series of well-received indie releases since 2010.

After growing up in Houston, the artist born Melissa Jefferson 29 years ago in Detroit has been based in Minneapolis since 2011.

Though the chorus of one of her recent hits declares that she’s “feelin’ good as hell,” it wasn’t always so for an artist whose “no-genre hip-hop” and plus-size frame didn’t easily fit into most music industry pigeonholes.

In a recent interview, Lizzo discussed her rise from outsider to role model. Here are a few excerpts:
Her stage name: “Lizzo was my nickname in 7th grade. Now everyone calls me that. If you called me ‘Melissa’ it would be really weird. Back in school, they’d call me ‘Mellisso’ or ‘Lizzo.’ Everybody where I grew up in Houston would chop off half the name and put an ‘o’ at the end.”

Her inspiration: “Missy Elliott is a songwriter, producer and performer who is amazing, and as soon as I saw her I wanted to be that. It was the way she spoke about herself. You never felt she was insecure about her size. She was always so bold and so sexual and so fly. The way you speak on yourself in music carries weight. I learned how to have confidence in myself because of her.”

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