Lizzo is an Minneapolis-based Detroit artist who has been hovering around my peripheal vision ever since she debuted with the 2013 song ‘Batches & Cookies’, a beat rap anthem that outdid the attitude of an Azealia Banks record by imbuing the production with a sense of fun rather than cool.
Since then, Lizzo has been on a slow ascendance, releasing a couple of albums, an EP on a major Atlantic and touring with Haim most recently.
That sense of adventure has remained in her work, and it comes to the fore on her new single Boys, a track that does what few dare and even fewer succeed with, channel Prince.
Like Janelle Monae earlier this year, Lizzo has paid homage to the Purple One, and like Monae, she also has shared a track or two with Prince (she appeared on Prince and 3rdEyeGirl song ‘Boytrouble’) so this may be personal.
And there’s no better way to pay tribute than to do a good job of sounding like Prince. ‘Boys’ has the man’s trademark’s taut funk rhythms at its core, wailing guitars and lyrics celebrating sexual liberation.
Lizzo wants to freak and celebrates men of all stripes: “I like big boys, itty bitty boys / Mississippi boys, inner city boys / I like the pretty boys with the bow tie / Get your nails did, let it blow dry / I like a big beard, I like a clean face / I don’t discriminate, come and get a taste / From the playboys to the gay boys / Go and slay, boys, you my fave boys.”
Boys is delivered with just enough modernity, from the Pharrell-esque call and response (yes, the song has some rhythmic resemblance to Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got To Get It Up’ / Robin Thicke’s Pharrell-produced lawsuit losing ‘Blurred Lines) to the dance music breakdown.
And Lizzo, as she always has appeared is a singer with an effervescence and panache to pull off a Prince tribute, and dons a wig in a nod to a photoshoot from his early Minneapolis era. Boys is a lusty summer anthem.