The road to SZA’s follow-up to 2017’s Ctrl has been anything but straightforward. But 2021 has seen her dropping new music consistently in a wave of singles that began at the tail end of 2020 with the release of “Hit Different” with Ty Dolla Sign and then “Good Days” in December. As soon as the new year turned, she said in an interview with Cosmopolitan that “This album is going to be the sh*t that made me feel something in my… here and in here. That’s what’s going to go on the album. I’m making all different types of sh*t every day from different places in my spirit.”
The groundwork has been laid, and SZA has been active this year, dropping tracks with Doja Cat, Kali Uchis and her latest single, “I Hate U.” “Honestly this started out as an exercise, she said on Instagram when the latter was released for streaming. “I jus wanted somewhere to dump my thoughts w out pressure..y’all made it a thing and I’m not mad lmao. ask and u shall receive. I HATE YOU OUT ON ALL PLATFORMS.”
“I Hate U” has clearly been on steady rotation for a lot of people since its release. Billboard just reported that it has broken the record for the most-streamed song by a female R&B artist in its first week. It debuted at No. 7 on the Hot 100 this week and still has a ways to go before it can topple Adele’s seven-week reign at the top with “Easy On Me.” But even that track didn’t reach No. 1 until it’s a third week out. Until then, here’s another feather in SZA’s cap.