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SZA isn't your average female R&B artist for more than one reason. Raised as an Orthodox Muslim in a New Jersey, SZA only started making music a few years ago. Her early work certainly caught the eye as she was signed to arguably the hottest label in the world - Top Dawg Entertainment. TDE is home to Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock and fellow recent signee Isaiah Rashad. SZA bucks the trend not only for being the first female, but for being the first non-hip-hop artist on the label.

Her label links give her a great line-up of talent to connect with and she has brought on board plenty of help for her first album proper both from the TDE roster and elsewhere. Album opener 'UR' is produced by Mac Miller, it's a laid back instrumental with a sexier-than-The-xx twanging guitar popping up between SZA's vocals which fluctuate between low, husky whispers and pure high notes. It's a great pairing and a strong way to open the album.

Following 'UR' is 'Child's Play' featuring 2013 breakout star Chance The Rapper. The combination of Chance's unique squeaky vocals on his stellar verse and SZA's whispered vocals really clicks on this ode to lazy days on this unfeasibly laid back track. Again, the production shines as XXYYXX's 'About You' is subtly reworked to accommodate SZA and Chance.

Sadly the production of the album becomes a case of 'too many cooks spoil the broth'. Following on from the great opening double, third track 'Julia' is a shiny pop song which sounds like something Kylie Minogue would release. Its upbeat synths are incredibly jarring coming off the back of 'Child's Play'. 'Julia' seems like a cop-out for SZA as her S EP was a great realisation of her sound with trap style drums and booming bass set against chilled out synths and her distinctive vocals. 'Julia' and the three tracks produced by Emile ('Green Mile', 'Shattered Ring' and closer 'Omega') are all so far from the SZA that first caught the ear which we hear in the album's opening two tracks.

'Warm Winds' featuring labelmate Isaiah Rashad is another Mac Miller produced track and reverts back to the winning formula, with additional production from The Antydote who was behind the bulk of Rashad's brilliant Cilvia Demo. It's a nice track but nothing spectacular, it's a shame because Rashad is nothing more than a back-up singer when a rap verse would have been so much more effective.

'HiiiiJack' produced by Toro Y Moi is decent filler and a nod to Kendrick Lamar's 'HiiiiPower'. K.Dot pops up on 'Babylon' which rescues the middle of the album, produced by DJ Dahi, (the man behind 'Money Trees' and Drake's 'Worst Behaviour') it's a brilliant mix of churning synths and rolling drums. SZA's voice sits a lot higher in the mix and gives her a presence that's lacking on a lot of the album's weaker tracks. Predictably, Kendrick's verse still steals the song.

SZA occasionally suffers from uninspiring lyrics, she'll sometimes hit on some nice stuff but all too often it falls into clichés about love and self-doubt. In an interview with Billboard, she revealed: "I don't write any of my lyrics. I just kind of freestyle them off the top of my head. Whatever comes to my mind I just let it out the way it comes, which sometimes doesn't make any sense even to me." SZA has ability, but more planning is surely necessary if she is to make memorable tracks, especially when paired with talented lyricists like Kendrick and Chance The Rapper.

Z is promising but it seems that SZA's identity isn't truly clear as there are too many different styles competing to be heard. It's a shame because her S EP was so consistent and the Z's high points are very good indeed. SZA is in safe hands on Top Dawg Entertainment and will grow and produce some great music, for now she needs to work out which SZA is the one to move forward with.

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