Kill Bill(boards): SZA’s New EP Leaves Us Shaking

By Zoe Elerby

SZA’s New EP Leaves Us Shaking 1

SZA’s “Kill Bill”, which claimed the #1 spot on Billboard Global 200 just this week, has been delightfully wrapped into a dangerously addictive bundle. With “Kill Bill” dominating her fan’s playlists and sitting pretty as the second track on her extremely popular 2022 album, the singer released four different versions of the song. Each track breaks down the song, such as the vocals-only and the instrumental, giving the story of the song an even more haunting impression.

SZA is one of those artists. Artists that manage to make waves despite changing trends and the quick pace of the music industry as well as the internet. SZA has always managed to keep her name on the radar, even if she doesn’t release new music, you can still hear her voice all over social media, including TikTok. SZA isn’t unfamiliar with the Billboard Hot 200, she has received enough credit that she has worked with the legendary Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna and Beyonce.

SZA has a voice that has been mimicked by many young female artists over the past few years. There is a gentle presence to her voice, one that turns heads and shuts mouths. Not only is her range impressive, but she holds herself with dignity as she performs. A few young artists have tried to use her cadence to garner attention, but none of them have the lasting effect that SZA does on her audience. She is known for her creativity and lyrics that tell cohesive, very human stories much like Kendrick Lamar.

The music video for SZA’s “Kill Bill” was directed by Christian Breslauer, a young yet notable director who prides himself on high quality shots and compelling stories. Breslauer is no stranger to the music industry, he’s worked with John Legend, Bebe Rexha and of course, Lil’ Nas X, specifically with “INDUSTRY BABY”.

Breslauer’s music videos never fail to meet the trending page and stay there, which is why “Kill Bill”’s video remains at the top ten. The song’s namesake “Kill Bill” is in reference to the Quentin Tarantino film where a female protagonist is betrayed and nearly killed by a man that she trusts. Instead of dying, she plots her revenge. SZA’s version, especially in the video, is an homage to the movie, from the shots to the brilliant animation sequence they added in the third minute.

“I just killed my ex…not the best idea. Killed his girlfriend next, how’d I get here?”

“I did it all for love. I did it all on no drugs. I did all of this sober. I did it all for us.”

Listening to the original version, there is an uneasy air about it already. The synthesizer is used to create a haunting, old radio-type sound that is meant to be unsettling. It feels as if you’re in a dark empty hallway, just waiting for a jump scare. Listening to the full instrumental version, however, it becomes even more off-putting. When the music cuts out and it’s silent for a few moments, that is the most unsettling part of it.

Yet, it’s brilliant. It isn’t often that a well-acclaimed performer like SZA would be involved in a song so blatantly creepy. While the character we follow was wronged, it’s still concerning that her first thought is that she wants to be an executioner. Tack on the vocals-only version and you have a classic thriller trailer playing in your headphones. SZA’s voice, at least for me, is usually attached to stories about heartache, about love, sex and success. But having SZA’s melodic voice, including her own backup vocals, sends chills up a listener’s spine. The sped up version however, feels less unsettling and more like a usual “alternative” pop song.

SZA’s “Kill Bill” has done monstrously well, so well that it was given a well-deserved 4-version EP. It feels like the singer and her team put a lot of love into just one song, which only speaks to SZA’s abilities as an artist. You can listen to “Kill Bill” on SOS as well as the “Kill Bill” EP on Spotify, Apple Music and wherever music can be streamed.

About SZA:


Born in St. Louis and raised in Maplewood, NJ, genre-defying, and GRAMMY Award winning recording artist SZA released her long-awaited sophomore album SOS (TDE/RCA) on December 9, 2022. Instantly and universally met with acclaim, SOS debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, earning SZA her first No. 1 on the chart.

With over 400 million streams in the US during release week, SOS became the second largest streaming week for a female artist and third largest of 2022 among all albums. Several tracks dominated song charts and playlists across digital service providers, with standout tracks “Kill Bill” and “Nobody Gets Me” landing at No. 3 and No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, respectively. “Kill Bill” is SZA’s first No. 1 Global hit on Spotify and Apple Music and peaked at No. 2 on the YouTube Trending Music chart.

In 2017, SZA released her major label debut album Ctrl (TDE/RCA). Revered for its raw and honest lyrics, it landed at No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B Albums chart, No. 2 on the R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart and No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart, according to Nielsen Music. The now RIAA-certified 3xPlatinum album received five Grammy nominations in 2018 and more than half the songs on Ctrl are currently certified multi-Platinum and Gold.

Ctrl remains on the Billboard 200 chart since its release in 2017 and holds the record for the longest run for any Black female artist’s debut album. In 2022 alone it sold over 600,000 units and is the 10th best-selling female album this year in the country and 50th best-selling album in 2022 overall.

SZA has won various awards since the release of Ctrl including a 2022 GRAMMY Award for Best Pop Dou/Group Performance for “Kiss Me More” with Doja Cat, Billboard Music Awards’ Top R&B Female Artist, BET Awards’ Best New Artist, BET Soul Train Awards’ Best R&B/Soul Female Artist and Best New Artist, MTV Video Music Awards’ Best Visual Effects for the “All The Stars” with Kendrick Lamar, and NAACP Image Awards’ Outstanding New Artist. In 2019, she won NAACP Image Awards’ Outstanding Duo or Group for “All The Stars” with Kendrick Lamar and Outstanding Soundtrack/Compilation for the Black Panther Soundtrack. SZA also received Billboard’s 2019 Women in Music Rule Breaker award.


In 2020, SZA released the hypnotic track “Hit Different” featuring Ty Dolla $ign along with the stunning visual that took the internet by storm. To close out the trying year, SZA gifted fans on Christmas Day with the hopeful track “Good Days,” followed by a trippy visual released in March. Grammy-nominated for Best R&B Song, the single quickly became SZA’s greatest gainer solo single release, peaking at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and marking her first time in the chart’s top ten as the main artist.

December 2021, SZA scored her second lead artist top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart with the official release of “I Hate U,” which debuted at #7. The song also entered at #1 on both Spotify and Apple Music US charts and broke the record for the most streamed R&B song by a female artist on Apple Music in its first week.  “Shirt,” her most recent single from SOS, has garnered over 60 million streams globally since its release in October 2022.


To this day, SZA continues to set the standard on creativity and songwriting, while shattering records with over 7.2 billion streams worldwide across all platforms.

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