After a couple of jam-packed years on the road, Lizzo is getting ready to unleash an artistic masterpiece: The tightly focused, empowering, and inspirational Big GRRRL Small World, which is coming out on her own BGSW label.
“When you see the world, you’re able to write about it in a different way. And that’s why the album is Big GRRRL Small World,” Lizzo told me recently. “Everybody speaks the same language when I get on the microphone, you know? It’s opened my eyes, and I’m able to express myself globally.”
For the follow-up to her debut album, 2013’s Lazerbeak and Olson-produced Lizzobangers, Lizzo wanted to try a new approach. After years performing alongside other artists, Lizzobangers was Lizzo’s first chance to claim the spotlight and fill an album with her own voice, and it stands up as an excellent introduction to her wit and unstoppable technical abilities. But now that she’s spent the past two years honing her solo show on the road, she wanted to make an album that could capture the full range of her dynamic abilities.
The lead single, “Humanize,” is one of Lizzo’s poppiest offerings to date, and features harmonies and piano work by Eric Mayson and additional vocals by her GRRRL PRTY crewmate Manchita. As with the rest of the tracks on the album, “Humanize” was co-produced by BJ Burton, who brought her out to Justin Vernon’s April Base studio space in rural Wisconsin to create an intimate, lush, and highly personal collection of songs.
Don’t be fooled: “Humanize” may show a softer side of the Houston-bred, Detroit-born rapper, but it’s certainly not the only side of Lizzo that we see on Big GRRRL Small World. Other tracks on the album positively bang, while the record’s centerpiece, the epic “Bother Me,” features a vocoder collaboration with Justin Vernon himself.
Big GRRRL Small World is due out December 4.