SZA is expressing serious frustration with her label TDE, but Punch has some choice words that he isn’t afraid to share.
SZA vs TDE
It’s been 5 years since SZA’s smash hit album Ctrl. The 14-track project has served as a soundtrack to Gen Z’s heartbreaks and triumphs. But now, fans are ready for the next chapter in SZA’s library. Since September 2020, SZA has been dropping singles to tease her next project. First, with “Hit Different” featuring Ty Dolla $ign, “Good Days,” “Fue Mejor” with Kali Uchis, and “I Hate U.” Particularly, “Good Days” and “I Hate U” became massively successful via TikTok and effectively built up the hype for the Midwest artist. With all this build-up, fans were expecting an album announcement any day now. But now, it looks like they’ll have to wait a bit longer due to some label drama.
In the comment section of a recent Instagram post, SZA responded to one eager fan wondering about the status of her album. “It’s 100% punch and rca on this one” she explained. “I wanted the summer. They wanted more time Atp I’m jus tryna have a good time stress free lol”
SZA says her album delay is Punch (from TDE) and RCA’s doing.
Punch responds with some words of his own.
— FLAVOR WAVES (@flavwaves) July 21, 2022
The still unnamed sophomore album was previously announced to be set for this summer back in May. While strolling down the 2022 Met Gala red carpet, SZA stopped to speak with Lala Anthony about her upcoming work. “So this summer, it will be a SZA summer.” She told the socialite. Somewhere along the way, she apparently ran into some conflict with TDE Records. The ‘Broken Clocks’ singer didn’t provide any explicit details as to what exactly is holding the album up, but clearly, it’s something highly contentious since record executive Punch directly responded to the name drop.
An Endless Back and Forth
Hours after SZA made her claims on Instagram, TDE head Punch said his piece on Twitter. “Starting to get tired of this. Getting tired of this whole business” he tweeted out. Szas subsequently clapped back by tweeting “we all tired”.
We all tired .
— SZA (@sza) July 21, 2022
In a now-deleted post, Punch provided some further context to the situation. In a screen cap from the iPhone notes app, the record exec bares all.
TDE president Punch releases a statement concerning SZA & the status of her new upcoming album pic.twitter.com/PR1NjXHjCr
— NFR Podcast (@nfr_podcast) July 21, 2022
“SZA and myself initially spoke about a summertime album. Which is why she mentioned summer in a post-Grammys interview.” He began. “Shortly after discussing everything with RCA and Top, we decided it was best to do it a little bit later to set everything up correctly, giving it its proper space and lead time”
He continued, “There is a lot that goes into putting out a album and especially one with this much anticipation. We thank you for your continued patience and understanding. An announcement will be coming sooner than you think”
Punch may need an emergency plan because SZA isn’t the only big artist to make their discontent public. Kendrick Lamar recently announced that his latest record Mr. Morale and the big Steppers would be his last album releases under TDE. However, Punch seemed to take Kendrick’s departure pretty well.
“That’s a grown man right now. We watched him grow from a teenager up into an established grown man, a businessman, and one of the greatest artists of all time. So how long do you actually be signed up under somebody? It’s been almost 20 years. So it’s time to move on and try new things and venture out.” He told Mic earlier this year.
Clearly, things are getting just a little tense over at TDE. But this isn’t the first time some bad blood has been had between SZA and her label head. Back in 2020, the 32-year-old held a Twitter Q&A to interact with fans. While answering questions, it quickly became clear her relationship with Punch is less than pretty. One fan asked, “Would you say this is an adverse or hostile relationship or just out of your hands — you just don’t know?” See SZA’s response for yourself below.
BEEN hostile .
— SZA (@sza) August 20, 2020
In one Twitter thread, a fan posted a screenshot of Punch promising an upcoming SZA album on Instagram. The St. Louis vocalist had a pretty unimpressed reaction.
This is all he says to me as well . Welcome to my fucking life .
— SZA (@sza) August 20, 2020
Even the highly praised Ctrl had some behind-the-scenes issues. SZA spoke to Flaunt magazine in 2016 about her struggles with getting the record out. During the interview, she even implied it would be her last album. Obviously, she didn’t stick to this threat, but it speaks to how strained the relationship is between her and TDE.
Regardless of the friction, SZA is more popular than ever. “I Hate U” broke the record for the most streamed R&B song by a female artist on Apple Music in its first week. In addition to this “Good Days” has gone 3x platinum with over 3,000,000 units sold. Hopefully, SZA can capitalize on this attention and get her album released soon.