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“Hit Different” is SZA’s long-awaited comeback as a lead artist since she released her critically acclaimed debut CTRL in 2017.

The track, featuring Ty Dolla Sign, was released last Friday, taking many fans by surprise. It was announced only about two hours before its midnight release, which prompted a buzz on Twitter and other social media platforms.

Produced by the Neptunes, “Hit Different” is an R&B slow-jam featuring SZA’s signature smooth vocals and a drum loop reminiscent of 80s soul music. The song’s strength is in its dream-like verse, pleading with her love interest:

“All that I know is/Mirrors inside me/They recognize you/Please, don’t deny me” 

The track is how SZA thrives as a songwriter: poignant lyricism, expressed through her raw and emotive vocals. “Hit Different” evokes the same feeling CTRL did when it first hit the mainstream: the feeling that you’re listening to the sounds of summer.

The music video for “Hit Different” was directed by SZA, and features scores of backup dancers surrounding her in pastel orange and performing an intricately choreographed dance routine.

On August 24th, SZA tweeted multiple times about the relationship with her record label becoming “hostile” as a result of multiple release delays to her sophomore album. SZA has been signed to Top Dawg Entertainment since 2013.

It is not clear whether “Hit Different” will be featured on her sophomore album, or if it is a stand-alone song.

The track can be streamed here.

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