Melissa Jefferson, better known by her stage name Lizzo, is an alternative hip-hop artist who originated in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is known for her singles "Truth Hurts," "Juice," and "Good as Hell".
Her music, which blends hip-hop and pop genres, is known for its themes of body positivity and self-love. In today's hip-hop culture, built on stale rhymes about sex, money, and drugs, Houston-bred, Minneapolis-based artist, Lizzo relies on inventive wordplay and an ability to seamlessly flow between rapping and singing to set her above the rest.
Lizzo's unique delivery and cadence are only fueled by the depth of her pop-culture, social and historical references, ranging from Lizzie Borden to Cogsworth to Anna Wintour. Born in Detroit in the late '80s, Lizzo spent much of her formative years in the Pentecostal church, where she was raised on the gospel sounds of The Winans, The Clark Sisters, and Fred Hammond, along with mainstay secular artists such as Stevie Wonder and Elton John.
At the age of 10 her family moved to Houston, Texas, and Lizzo was exposed to a wide array of emerging Southern musical styles, from the trademark chopped and screwed rap tracks of the underground, to the progressive and polished R&B sounds of groups like Destiny’s Child that were raising the city’s national profile to new heights.
In fact, it was after she skipped class to catch a Destiny’s Child performance at Wal-Mart that Lizzo -- then a 5th grader -- was inspired to start writing music on her own. Over the next decade that decision would take her through the trenches of some of the most varied musical genres: R&B girl groups (INITIALS, Cornrow Clique, The Chalice), progressive rock bands (Elypseas), electro-pop duos (Lizzo & The Larva Ink), and trap-based hip-hop collective/crew GRRRL PRTY.
Before signing with Nice Life and Atlantic Records, she released two studio albums -- Lizzobangers (2013), and Big Grrrl Small World (2015). In 2014, Time named her one of 14 music artists to watch. Her first major-label EP, Coconut Oil, was released in 2016.
In 2019, she attained mainstream success with the release of her third studio album, Cuz I Love You, which peaked inside the top five of the Billboard 200. The album spawned two singles: "Juice" and "Tempo".
The deluxe version of the album included her 2017 single "Truth Hurts," which became a viral sleeper hit, topping the Billboard Hot 100 two years after its initial release. Around this time, her 2016 single "Good as Hell" also climbed the Billboard charts, reaching the top ten of the UK Singles Chart and the Billboard Hot 100.
Aside from singing and rapping, Lizzo is also an actress; she served as a voice performer in the animated film UglyDolls (2019) and starred in the crime comedy-drama film Hustlers (2019). She graduated with a classical flute degree from the University of Houston and turned down a scholarship for graduate studies at the Paris Conservatory in order to pursue projects in hip-hop and popular music.
The road to stardom was not easy for Lizzo, though -- at 21, after the death of her father, she lived out of her car for a year as she tried to break into the music industry.
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