Alternative R&B artist SZA (Solana Rowe) grew up listening to classic and avant-garde jazz (such as Billie Holiday and John Coltrane), alternative (including Björk), and rap (like Wu-Tang Clan). In 2012, she released two EPs as free downloads. Those releases, See.SZA.Run and S, formed a dreamy, alluring, and occasionally unorthodox introduction with beats granted by brandUn DeShay, Felix Snow, APSuperProducer, Dot, Zodiac, and Hassan Insane, among others. SZA subsequently signed to Top Dawg -- home to the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Ab-Soul. A fantasy-like video for the S EP's "Ice Moon" was released in November 2013. Additional exposure came through "His & Her Friend," a track on labelmate ScHoolboy Q's Oxymoron, released the following February. Her digital download-only Z, a trippy ten-track set with assists from Lamar, Chance the Rapper, and Isaiah Rashad, came a couple months later. ~ Andy Kellman
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