SZA took to social media this week to announce the release of brand new single ‘Hit Different’, featuring Ty Dolla $ign.
The star teased the surprise release just hours before it hit streaming services on 4th September. The R&B number is a classic ode to being hooked on someone you shouldn’t be.
It’s SZA’s first single as a lead artist since 2017 and follows her disco-tinged Justin Timberlake collaboration ‘The Other Side’, created for the latest Trolls movie at the beginning of the year.
‘Hit Different’ is produced by renowned duo The Neptunes, otherwise known as Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo. Following the release, SZA told her 3.5 million Twitter followers that she has idolised the pair for her “whole life”. She also revealed that the track was recorded at DJ Khaled’s house while he was away attending the Super Bowl back in February.
The accompanying music video for the song sees SZA making her directorial debut. Throughout, the singer basks in the last weeks of summer sun as she lounges around in a barn, on a haystack and in the back of a pick up truck. She’s joined by a handful of dancers for scenes in a scrap yard and car lot. Several shots show her covered head to toe in blood.
SZA’s return to music has been much anticipated since the release of her exceptional debut ‘CTRL’ in 2017. The critically acclaimed record earned her a GRAMMY nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album, and scored a place on numerous decade-end best-of lists towards the end of 2019.
The road to new SZA music hasn’t been completely smooth, however. Last month, in a now deleted tweet, she implied that the ‘hostile’ relationship with Terrence ‘Punch’ Henderson, the president of her record label Top Dog Entertainment, was behind the delay of new music. She told fans: “At this point y’all gotta ask punch. I’ve done all I can do.”
In response to a fan post containing a screenshot in which Punch said new SZA music would be released ‘soon’, she commented: ‘This is all he says to me as well. Welcome to my fucking life.”
Just over two weeks later, in an interview with DJ Zane Lowe, SZA explained that she released ‘Hit Different’ as she had “so much stuff” that she was “done holding onto”.
Despite the delay in releasing her own material, SZA has stayed firmly on critics’ radars. She featured on DJ Khaled’s ‘Just Us’ last year, and on the GRAMMY-nominated ‘All The Stars’ with Kendrick Lamar in 2018.
Words by Marcus Wratten