Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Staff via Getty Images
  /  02.09.2023

In the early days of her career, SZA was an independent artist in search of a record label to support her music. She found a home with Top Dawg Entertainment, signing with the hip hop heavyweight label in 2013 and releasing her EP Z, debut album CTRL, and last year’s album SOS with them. But, before she decided on TDE, SZA was looking to take her music in a different direction by signing with hip hop collective Odd Future, which consisted of rising stars like Tyler, the Creator, Frank Ocean, and Syd. 

The “Kill Bill” singer looked back on her thought process at the time in an interview with The New York Times magazine released Wednesday (Feb. 8). 

“Quiet as it’s kept, I wanted to be with, like, Odd Future,” the singer said. “I felt more like a Clancy girl.” Christian Clancy and his wife Kelly Clancy are the founders of 4 Strikes Management, which worked with Odd Future members Tyler, the Creator and Frank Ocean and helped launch the artists to mainstream stardom. At the time, SZA was releasing one-off tracks where she freestyled over Odd Future beats, and she wanted nothing more than to join the group of artists herself. 

Once she moved to California to further her career, however, she struck up a friendship with TDE President Terrence Louis Henderson Jr., better known as Punch. Their friendship was the basis for an artistic relationship, as SZA felt that Punch had her back when it came to her music. “Punch believed in me,” she said honestly. 

SZA’s sophomore album SOS was released last December after several snags in the release process. She’d been preparing for the album’s release since 2020, but the powers that be opted to delay the project’s release. Even its December 2022 release date was a point of contention, as TDE bosses wanted her to instead drop it at the top of the year. Punch, for his part, was thrilled about the album’s positive reception following its long-awaited release

SOS has been a massive success since its release at the end of last year. It remained at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart for seven consecutive weeks, tying a record long held by Whitney Houston and her 1987 album Whitney and surpassing the chart reigns of projects like Adele’s 30, Beyoncé’s Beyoncé, Mariah Carey’s Daydream, and Janet Jackson’s Janet



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