I remember first seeing SZA in TDE's 2013 BET cypher. She didn't even step to the front to say anything, but still, she was impossible to miss. The only girl in the crew, chilling in the back with big hair and white shorts, she anonymously seemed to anchor them. At different points in the cypher, each of TDE's rappers (all stars in their own right) pose with her, as if you say, "Remember her."
For the next few years, SZA would pop up again and again — featured on high profile tracks, opening on tours around the world. But she really burst into the mainstream with her 2017 album, Cntrl, undoubtedly one of the best R&B albums of the year, which earned her a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist.
Our song this week comes from that album. On "Broken Clocks" SZA confronts something that rules our lives but we often try to ignore: Time. Love and work seem to take up all of it for her, and she's regretting some of the past time she thinks she's wasted, whether on shitty relationships or shittier jobs. She's trying to take it day by day, and in the chorus, she finds a release. With nothing but broken clocks, she ain't got no time, just burning daylight, and love.
The song comes from a special time in SZA's life, when she was recording at a house on Michigan Lake with her friend, producer and bassist, Carter Lang. I'll let SZA take it from here and explain, as she told Vulture: "[Carter's] granny has a cottage on Lake Michigan, in the woods. His family built it up into a bigger house and we all drove out and set up a bunch of studios: one in the basement, one in the kitchen, and one in a bedroom. We just made stuff on our own time. There was no [cell] service. All we had was a landline. There’s the lake and one grocery store. All we could do was just vibe out, but it was so peaceful...that’s my favorite part of the album."
You can learn more about SZA here:
About the curator - Cormac McGee
Cormac McGee is a DJ, artist manager and concert promoter based in Toronto, Canada. He’s played in front of crowds from 10 – 1,000 people and has run concerts with some of today’s top hip hop artists, including Drake, Future, Mac Miller, 6lack, Ab-Soul and more. He also runs the Music Den at Ryerson University, a business incubator for entrepreneurs in the music industry.