SZA has high praises for Baton Rouge rapper, NBA YoungBoy, who began rapping at just 16 years old, and through hard work, he is now known as one of the most streamed rappers in the United States, second only to Drake.
SZA recently sat down for an interview with the New York Times where she discusses her music and career from 2015 to the present and even her feeling and moods about the industry.
While speaking about her best pop/duo performance Grammy award with Doja Cat last year for “Kiss Me More”, SZA shares that she is against labels and even the box that some people try to put artists in as ‘superstars’ and she also referenced the high burden placed on black artists to be all-rounders with perfect backgrounds who are chosen for success rather than those who come up from sheer hard work and grime.
In particular, she referenced her dislike of segregation in music, aka genres like pop, R.&B., Latin, country, etc, and she calls out Hollywood for being driven by a sort of “classism” that prizes Black artists for how many skills they bring to the table,
“The industry leans into the classism of celebrating only those Black musicians “who play 50 instruments, went to all the right schools, did all the right programs, and talked to all the right people,” the artist is quoted as saying.
She further goes on to say black excellence should be measured by hard work and nothing less, with YoungBoy as her example of that.
“I don’t like that. Black excellence is NBA Youngboy putting out projects and speaking his heart and screaming into a microphone,” the ‘SOS’ artist said.
SZA’s words rang a bell for recent criticisms of organizations like the Grammy. In one particular instance, Chris Brown lost out on an R&B Album award to another artist who is more known for hip-hop and rap music. The artist goes on to troll the Grammy that he’s going to work harder and even learn an instrument skill, as he hinted that his music and work were apparently not good enough to secure a Grammy.
As for NBA YoungBoy, he is among one of the highest-selling artists and has made his label millions of dollars, but he has never won a Grammy award. So too, is the case for Nicki Minaj, Snoop Dogg, and countless other rappers.