Justine Skye made us a bad bitch playlist
It does exactly what it says on the tin.
Photography Ally Green
Over the past couple of years, Justine Skye has truly levelled up. The Brooklyn-born artist — who was signed to Atlantic at 17 before later moving to Roc Nation (where she put out her most successful song to date, 2018’s “Know Myself”, with 60 million streams on Spotify alone) — has set herself free. At just 25, she has achieved more than others do in a lifetime, and discovered exactly who she is musically; matching her sound to her story. “The world shut down and I had nothing but space and time to create and build this body of work,” she tells i-D. The result is an introduction to her new era: a forward-thinking Timbaland-produced R&B record (“I was beyond excited when he hit me up”) named Space and Time that Justine calls her “bad bitch manual”.
Out today on her own label, Nynetineth, the 11-tracker oozes confidence. Lead single “Intruded” exploded onto the scene back in February via a music video starring friends Bella Hadid and Lil Yachty, alongside Justine on a rotating platform in a pair of thigh-high leather boots -- the sexiest use of a lazy susan we’ve ever seen. An ode to falling hard and fast in love, the song’s raw emotion set the mood. Its follow up, “Twisted Fantasy”, arrived last month -- a late night score with playful handclaps and a fire guest verse from young Nigerian artist Rema. “We created this project at such a historical point in our lives,” she says of the record that soon became a vessel for her innermost thoughts and feelings; an opportunity for her to tap into some serious vulnerability.
Justine credits her all-female team (including co-managers and creative directors Emily Pires and Elena Hristu) as well as Timbaland for providing her with the safe space she needed in order to let it all out. “I’ve always had so much to say but didn’t know how to, or have the confidence to say it,” she says. Consider that remedied. “Every song on the album means a lot to me because they’re all an extension of who I am,” she continues, “but ‘About Time’ means the most. I just believe it really sets the tone for this next stage of my life.” If we’re reading the record right, Justine’s new era will be formidable. “Space and Time is the bad bitch manual,” she adds. “Every song on here is a part of me and the woman that I became while working on it: the ultimate bad bitch.”
Keen to share some of her confidence, and to celebrate the release of a banging album, we called on Justine to curate a playlist of her favourite bad bitch anthems. Something for us all to stick on when we’re in need of a little boost. “It’s full of songs that I feel embody what it is to be a bad bitch,” she says. “And being a bad bitch means being unapologetically yourself.” When does Justine, we wonder, feel like her baddest bitch self? “It could be when I’m fully dressed up and ready to go, or coming home at the end of the night and taking it all off.”
Her selection is nostalgic and empowering all at once, spanning everything from Britney’s “Toxic” and Kelis’ “Milkshake” to “Liquorice” by Azealia Banks, Tweet and Missy’s “Oops (Oh My)” and “Fuck With Myself” by BANKS. Her favourite from the selection, though, is “Monopoly” by Ariana Grande and Victoria Monet. “It’s just such a boss-ass song for women and makes me feel so confident and ready to take on the world.” As she should.
Press play and channel some of that same energy asap.