Lizzo’s 2013 debut, ‘Lizzobangers’, was a fireball of a record, all incendiary wit and magpie production (thanks, at least in part, to Poliça’s Ryan Olson). And while she’s toned down the confrontation musically on this follow-up, opting for minimal, smooth beats made in collaboration with BJ Burton, lyrically it cuts even sharper. “Ain’t I a woman?” asks opener ‘Ain’t I’ in its closing seconds, nodding to abolitionist Sojourner Truth’s much-quoted 1851 freedom speech. “I see someone like me ashamed to be,” says ‘My Skin’, “and honestly really, I’m fed up with it”.
Her deft wordplay and knowing winks haven’t gone completely – the lines “I swear there should be support groups for men without Lizzo / Meet once a week and deal with y’all issues / Google me and jack off into tissues” in ‘Ride’ can’t help but cause a quiet smile, for example - but ‘Big Grrrl Small World’ is an intentionally intense listen – Lizzo’s physical presence (a black woman,“statuesque and big as hell”) is placed meticulously front and centre.
“I woke up in this / in my skin” she sings in ‘My Skin’, with a wry nod to Beyoncé, “I can’t wash it away / So you can’t take it away from me / Brown skin.” “All my big beautiful big black booty girls”, ‘En Love’ shouts, “light skin, curly hair, afro in the air, love yourself like nobody can.”