Rapper Lizzo finds her own voice
By SELENA FRAGASSI For Sun-Times Media December 3, 2013 4:24PM
Lizzo | HANDOUT PHOTO
When: 9 p.m. Dec. 5
Where: Metro, 3730 N. Clark
Tickets: $17 (in advance)
Info: (773) 549-4140; etix.com
Updated: December 3, 2013 10:45PM
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It all started with Walmart and Destiny’s Child. Everything clicked for little Lizzo after the fifth-grader ditched school to see an in-store performance by the burgeoning girl group in the ’90s. Lizzo, who had grown up watching her mother sing with BeBe and CeCe Winans at their church back home in Detroit and who was herself aiming to be a professional flutist, was newly inspired to find her own voice. By 13, she was perfecting her freestyle and formed the Cornrow Clique. By high school graduation, she passed on the chance to continue her classical training at the Paris Conservatory, instead finding success in Houston’s underground as the front woman of prog-rock band Ellypseas.
A more recent move to Minneapolis and an assimilation into the city’s thriving hip-hop scene, most notably working with Doomtree collective’s Lazerbeak, have finally started to bring more well-deserved attention to this young talent. Combining her experiences in gospel, classical, rock and rap, the eclectic 25-year-old rapper is being hailed as an innovator and leading the resurrection of ’90s brazen, fast-paced emcees like Missy Elliott and Queen Latifah.
Lizzo recently found her break opening for fellow Minnesotan Har Mar Superstar and ultimately signed to indie label Totally Gross National Product (curated by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon), on which she released her solo debut “LIZZOBANGERS” last month. The lead single, “Batches and Cookies,” astutely dishonors climbing social ladders (“Thrift store shopping like Anna Wintour/ You ain’t gotta ask about it ’cuz I been hurr / Ridin’ in them chariots like we in Ben Hur”). But it is the track “W.E.R.K,” in which she advises her own young fans, “Look like a girl/ Act like a lady/ Think like a man/ Werk like a boss,” that will catapult her to be able to declare, “Say My Name.”