Did you know: SZA’s debut studio album, Ctrl, was supposed to be released in 2015, not 2017? The musician, real name Solána Rowe, began putting out EPs in 2012, but cutting her first full-length album proved torturous. Shortly after Ctrl was finally released, three summers ago, she told The Guardian she’d experienced a sort of “blinding paralysis brought on by anxiety.”
“I freestyle everything, all the way down. And I listen back and think, what’s shitty? And if something’s too shitty and I can’t put my finger on it, and I think, wow this sucks to me, then I get way frustrated, and usually scrap the song,” SZA said.
Eventually, her label cut her off. “They just took my hard drive from me.” And Ctrl dropped shortly thereafter.
Fast-forward three years. On January 3, SZA tweeted that new music will probably drop sometime in 2020. Then she got “locked outta Twitter all quarantine,” from March 20 to May 24. Returning to social media on Monday, SZA began publicly ruminating on a new project.
Alas, while it’s not a brand new album, the singer is considering releasing a “music dump” of 20-or-so never-published songs from the last six years as a standalone musical intermediary. SZA tweeted the project would be “similar to a photo dump but not an album. This concept make sense to anyone? Has anyone ever done it ? Asking for me.”
She clarified it wouldn’t be an EP, which usually contains four or five tracks. And added she wants proceeds to benefit charity, because there are “too many ppl hurting to make a dollar rn.” SZA also quashed hopes when she mused that too much time had passed to release a deluxe edition of Ctrl, though she later clarified a re-release wasn’t entirely off the table.
Perhaps most excitingly, SZA’s “music dump” proposition has become a bonafide crowdsourced project. The singer asked her following to help her brainstorm unreleased tracks, including snippets that’ve leaked over the years.
Whatever you want to call SZA’s new project (a mixtape?), it’s an undeniably fresh idea. Let’s hope the execs at Top Dawg and RCA Records are as on-board as SZA’s fandom, which is chomping at the bit for new music — even if it’s actually old.