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If you’ve paid attention to music at all over the past half-decade, you’ve almost certainly heard of Lizzo. However, in 2019, Lizzo has become more than a name whispered among music fans — she’s become nothing short of inescapable, even though none of her songs have yet to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The contrast between her internet omnipresence and her existence just outside the mainstream have many pop culture lovers wondering who exactly Lizzo is, where she came from, and what about her has gotten people so hyped on her. Here are four key things to know about Lizzo as she reaches her new peak.
She can sing, rap, and dance — and play the flute
Before 2018, Lizzo had already attracted a solid following. It was in 2018, though, that she really began showing off her classical flute training — and she did so in hilarious ways that often went viral. A 2018 video in which she plays the flute on stage before she and her dancers break out into the viral dance “the shoot” has been viewed more than 5.5 million times, and for good reason. The video displays Lizzo at both her most talented and hilarious, and it’s rare and exciting to find a pop star who plays the flute, especially this well.
This isn’t her first rodeo
Even though Lizzo went viral in 2018, she had been making music — and hits — long before then. Her 2016 song “Good As Hell,” despite never charting, has become such a cultural touchstone that retrospectives have already been written on it even though the song isn’t even three years old. Its video now sits at nearly 10 million views, and her 2017 “Truth Hurts” isn’t far behind, with 7.7 million views.
Her body positive message resonates
Even more so than her flute skills, Lizzo’s unabashedly body-positive message, which she conveys as loudly in her lyrics as she does in her videos and photos, has made her all but a household name in 2019. Publications such as E! Online have profiled Lizzo as a “body-positive queen.” Jameela Jamil, the Good Place actress known for constantly advocating body positivity, has hosted Lizzo on her beloved I Weigh Instagram TV show. Perhaps most notable of all, Lizzo sat directly across Trevor Noah on The Daily Show earlier this month.
Her 2019 music is universally acclaimed
Just four days into 2019, Lizzo released her song and video “Juice,” which were acclaimed across the board. The video, in just under four months, has already racked up close to nine million views, and Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Kimmel both invited her to play the song on their shows, flute solos and plentiful dancing included (Lizzo also performed the song at the vital LGBTQ+ event the GLAAD Media Awards). Cuz I Love You, the debut album from which “Juice” is taken, currently holds a Metacritic score of 83.
Among Cuz I Love You’s guests are hip-hop legend Missy Elliott, who raps alongside Lizzo on “Tempo,” a song on which both artists declare themselves “thick bitches” and encourage anyone else who identifies with this term to join them on the dancefloor and love themselves. No wonder Lizzo has drawn so much acclaim so far in 2019.