Back in August 2021, SZA debuted three new tracks — “I Hate U”, “Nightbird”, and “Joni” — in a surprise Soundcloud drop, linked on Twitter with the caption: “Dumping random thoughts.” The randomness of the release didn’t stop it blowing up, however (as you’ll already know if you’ve opened TikTok any time in the last couple of months).
The viral success of “I Hate U”, in particular, led SZA to officially release the track on streaming services in December, breaking an Apple Music streaming record in the process. “Honestly this started out as an exercise,” SZA wrote in an Instagram statement posted ahead of the release. “I jus wanted somewhere to dump my thoughts w out pressure… y’all made it a thing and I’m not mad lmao. ask and u shall receive “
Set by the hazy ocean, the visuals appear to show Stanfield going through a breakup with SZA (whose photo is set as his wallpaper) before receiving a text containing the titular put-down. Notably, the clip is titled “Part 1”, and ends with a declaration that this is “not the end”.
“Hit Different”, the Ty Dolla $ign-featuring track that marked SZA’s first single as lead artist since 2017’s Ctrl, was released back in 2020. “Good Days” followed on Christmas that year, with a video released in March 2021.