sza's label had to steal her hard drive so she'd finally release 'ctrl'

We have a rogue thief at Top Dawg Entertainment to thank for the album as we know it.

by Isabelle Hellyer
31 July 2017, 7:30am

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We waited quite a while to hear SZA's album Ctrl, and for a while there it felt like we might never get our hands on the records at all. Thankfully, SZA's tensions with her label Top Dawg were resolved, and the singer didn't end up quitting music — though she came close. In a wide-ranging interview with the Guardian the singer assured fans she was serious about quitting at the time of those Tweets, and if it weren't for some anonymous interference, we wouldn't have heard Ctrl at all.

"They cut me off," the artist told Rebecca Nicholson, referring to Top Dawg Entertainment. "They just took my hard drive from me. That was all." SZA was struggling to choose between the 200 or so songs she'd recorded — "I just kept fucking everything up. I just kept moving shit around," — and one day, the hard drive containing all those tracks disappeared from the safe in the studio. "Give me another month and [Ctrl] would have been something completely different."

The artist explained she experienced a great deal of anxiety recording the album, and would struggle to finish songs to her standards. "I freestyle everything, all the way down. And I listen back and think, what's shitty? And if something's too shitty and I can't put my finger on it, and I think, wow this sucks to me, then I get way frustrated, and usually scrap the song."

Will we be facing another two year wait for her sophomore LP? "No! I have less anxiety about the things that hindered me putting this album out," she assures, "so I'll probably be done in the next six months." We're already looking forward to it.


Text Isabelle Hellyer

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