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It’s not just Rihanna; SZA is back too. The singer ended the wait for new music with the official release of her single “Shirt,” along with a short film-style music video co-starring LaKeith Stanfield.
This isn’t the first time SZA fans have heard the song, though. She originally teased the track at the end of her “Good Days” music video (complete with a pole dancing sequence) in March 2021, and even that audio snippet was enough to go viral on TikTok. After a year and a half, she finally released the full version at midnight. The Dave Myers-directed visuals feature her and Stanfield as a crimefighting duo, guns blazing.
But! Just like she did with “Shirt,” SZA teased another song at the end of the video, switching up her flow as the credits roll. (If a Marvel-esque end credits teaser at the end of each of her videos is a new release strategy, I am all for it…minus the year-long wait.) With fast-paced rhymes, she drops lines like, “I ain’t no Julia Stiles, this ain’t no last dance, way past it,” and “I’m still playin’ the victim, and you still playin’ the pick me.”
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And it seems the end of the snippet ends with the hook:
It’s so embarrassing
All of the things I need living inside of me
I can’t see it
It’s so embarrassing
All of the love I see living inside of me
I can’t see it, I’m blind
Naturally, after getting a taste of the song, fans are already waiting for its official drop, but there’s no news on its release yet. The hint also adds to the anticipation of SZA’s sophomore album, the follow-up to her stellar studio debut, Ctrl, in 2017. While she has mentioned that a new album is coming, SZA has also made it clear that she wants to stay true to herself rather than succumb to industry pressure.
“I appreciate [my fans’] patience, but constantly trying to people-please and fulfill expectations instead of just thinking about what you need can deter you from your true path. And the next thing you know you’re somebody that you never signed up to be,” she told Complex this year. “Even with this album, I just wanna be better than my last project to myself. I wanna be a better writer. I wanna be a better artist, musician…a better thinker. I just wanna do things that make myself proud and interested.”
Erica Gonzales is the Senior Culture Editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage on TV, movies, music, books, and more. She was previously an editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com. There is a 75 percent chance she’s listening to Lorde right now.