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Lizzo sets Billboard chart record with number one hit ‘Truth Hurts’

Lizzo at The Current, 2019. (Nate Ryan/MPR)
Lizzo at The Current, 2019. (Nate Ryan/MPR)

by Kayla Song

September 25, 2019

Music critics and enthusiasts everywhere are praising rapper/ singer/ songwriter and flute goddess Lizzo as her hit song “Truth Hurts” becomes the longest-running Billboard Hot 100 #1 by a solo female rapper — eclipsing Cardi B's three-week reign with "Bodak Yellow” in 2017. Her success certainly won't stop here: she's just been ruled eligible for possible nomination as Best New Artist at the next Grammys.

The song that has become an anthem for many young women was actually released two years ago and was launched into the spotlight since the Netflix rom-com series Someone Great picked it up to feature in their trailer this year. “It revived the song a full two years later, and we watched it happening in real time,” said VP film/TV/video games Kristy Gibson in Billboard’s 2020 Grammy Preview Issue cover story on Lizzo. “I’ve been here for 11 years, and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything have a resurgence like that.”

Lizzo and her team had actually been trying to promote her song “Juice,” a song that President Barack Obama declared as one of his summer favorites, to kick off 2019 since “Truth Hurts” hadn’t gotten the reaction they had hoped. To their surprise, “Truth Hurts” finally caught wind this year with the Netflix show and promotional efforts switched to the now #1 song on Billboard. They added it to a deluxe version of Cuz I Love You, and in doing so, made the song eligible for the 2020 Grammys.

Initially, Lizzo's Best New Artist eligibility was in question due to the numerous tracks she recorded and released during her years in Minneapolis: releases like Lizzobangers (2013) and Big Grrrl Small World (2015) pushed her over the 30-track limit that "new artists" normally can't exceed. However, the Grammys sometimes don't count releases on small independent labels, and that's the path they chose in this case.

The artist told Billboard she’s always had to win the hearts of listeners over time, which explains the reason why her fame didn’t sprout immediately after her debut several years ago. That’s how her songs found success in the long run: featuring in various shows and movies as well as being the inspiration for the viral #DNATest TikTok challenge where users sub in their own identities and nationalities to contradict stereotypes with the lyrics, “I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% that bitch.”

Committed to creating opportunities and opening doors for plus-sized and black women, Lizzo talked a lot about becoming a genre of her own. “There’s that pop moment, when people can’t really replace you. They’re like, ‘What is this? I can only get this here,’” she said. “That’s that good s--t. That’s that pure s--t.” Whether the audience wants to feel like they're in church, a choreographed performance, or a "wild rock and roll show," Lizzo says she can deliver.

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This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.