Dream Setlist: Lizzo

Dream Setlist: Lizzo

No one can put on a live performance like Lizzo. From flute playing to spitting through killer rap verses to twerking with her Big GRRRLS, Lizzo can do it all. I’ve been lucky enough to see her live, and put together a setlist that showcases the artist’s range, from her Midwestern roots to major label hits.

From songs about self-love to unapologetically honest tweets, Lizzo is making waves in the music industry, and she’s doing it her own way. Lizzo skyrocketed to international fame after the release of her major-label debut Cuz I Love You in 2019, but few fans know that this rapper, singer, and icon cut her teeth in Minneapolis’ music scene in groups like hip-hop collective The Chalice and GRRRL PRTY, or that she released two full albums and an EP before Cuz I Love You. 

Lizzo has stopped by the Twin Cities twice this year on her Cuz I Love You tour. I frantically tried to buy tickets, but to no avail—her show at the Palace Theatre in May sold out just minutes after sales went live. While I haven’t had the chance to see her latest tour, I had seen Lizzo twice before—once at a headlining show in 2017 and once opening for HAIM in 2018—and she pulled out all the stops each time, twerking with her dancers the Big GRRRLS, taking swigs of Patrón, and showing off her flute skills in between verses. There’s no better way to experience her fiercely confident presence, sharp rapping, and powerhouse vocals than at a live performance.

While my Dream Setlist features a number of Lizzo’s chart-topping hits, it wouldn’t be complete without a few of her earlier tracks. Even before the world knew about her, Lizzo was writing empowering anthems and loving herself fearlessly.

 

1. Water Me

Lizzo - Water Me (Official Video)

Lizzo released “Water Me” in 2017, and the song was later included as a bonus track on the deluxe version of Cuz I Love You. The song is brimming with Lizzo’s sharp turns of phrase: “I don’t get dehydrated / I moisturize daily,” and the song’s anthemic prechorous would be sure to warm the crowd up. There’s hardly a better way to get a night started than singing along with Lizzo, “I am my inspiration!”

2. Fitness

Lizzo - Fitness (Official Video)

“Fitness” may be one of Lizzo’s more instrumentally sparse tracks, but it’s certainly still a bop. The only thing that could top hearing Lizzo perform this song live is seeing her and the Big GRRRLS lead a crowd in a calisthenics routine to the beat to get the crowd’s heart-rate pumping.

3. Batches & Cookies

Lizzo - Batches & Cookies (feat. Sophia Eris) [Official Video]

After the release of Cuz I Love You on Atlantic Records, Lizzo’s first two albums disappeared from Spotify. The decision to pull Lizzo’s early discography from streaming sites (whether it came from Atlantic or Lizzo herself) makes her early songs harder to hunt down, which is a shame, because her first two albums are full of gems like Lizzobangers’ “Batches & Cookies. The song features longtime Lizzo collaborator, Minneapolis DJ and MC Sophia Eris. In the music video, Lizzo and Sophia Eris ride around the Twin Cities on motorcycles, face off against homophobic protestors, and munch on donuts.

4. Good As Hell

Lizzo - Good As Hell (Video)

2016’s “Good As Hell” was one of the first songs to put Lizzo on the map, and is still a favorite for a crowd sing-a-long. 

5. Tempo (feat. Missy Elliott)

Lizzo - Tempo (feat. Missy Elliott) [Official Video]

Just hearing Lizzo perform this song live would be incredible, but bringing Missy Elliott onstage would truly make it a once-in-a-lifetime performance. While Lizzo regularly performs this song as part of her Cuz I Love You tour, hearing the rap icon and Lizzo inspiration Missy Elliott rip through her verse live would make for a jaw-dropping moment.

6. BOYTROUBLE

Technically, this one isn’t a Lizzo song, but the rapper did lend her voice to Prince for this track off his 2014 album Plectrumelectrum. Also on the song are Sophia Eris and Claire De Lune, who used to perform with Lizzo in the Minneapolis hip-hop collective the Chalice. It would be a treat to hear Lizzo arrange this song for a live performance—maybe she would even bring 3RDEYEGIRL onstage?

7. Crybaby

Lizzo - Crybaby (Official Audio)

Lizzo also delivers strong Prince vibes on this song with its soulful, swaggering beat. Throughout the song, Lizzo shows off her vocal prowess, belting out razor-sharp lines that would be unforgettable to hear live.

8. Boys

Lizzo - Boys (Official Video)

There have been memes made about this song, and for good reason—it’s catchy as hell. “Boys” features a slinky bass line and a sweltering guitar solo best heard from the pit.

9. My Skin

Lizzo - My Skin (Official Video)

Lizzo has become practically synonymous with the phrase “self-love” in pop-culture, and this 2015 song proves that Lizzo was talking about loving yourself before it became trendy. In “My Skin,” Lizzo articulates the hard work that goes into loving yourself: the struggle of unlearning biases and fully embracing a body that doesn’t fit neatly into our idea of what a “perfect” woman should look like. 

10. Ain’t I

Lizzo - Ain't I (Official Audio)

This single from 2015 shows off a more aggressive side to Lizzo—she spits verses over a distorted bassline reminiscent of the ‘90s vibe of the rappers who influenced her, like Missy Elliott and Trina.

11. Truth Hurts

Lizzo Proves She’s 100% That B***h In “Truth Hurts” Performance! | BET Awards 2019

Lizzo blew us away with her performance of “Truth Hurts” at the 2019 BET Awards (even Rihanna was vibing in the audience). In this song Lizzo proves she really can do it all—twerk, rap, sing, and shred through a killer flute solo. 

12. Scuse Me

Lizzo - Scuse Me (Official Video)

As with many of her songs, in “Scuse Me,” Lizzo has no time for haters trying to drag her down. “‘Scuse me while I feel myself,” she sings in an unbothered tone over airy synth chords.

13. Phone

Lizzo - Phone (Official Video)

“How I’m ‘posed to get home?” Lizzo asks in this late-night tale of losing your phone after a night at the club. This song would have the crowd twerking—and maybe it would repeat in their heads as they fumbled with their phones to call an Uber at the end of the night. 

14. Juice

Lizzo - Juice (Official Video)

It would be impossible not to dance along to this set-closing song. “Juice” has quickly become one of Lizzo’s most popular songs for its ‘80s nostalgia and cheeky lyrics. Lizzo and her backup dancers, the Big GRRRLS, would be sure to break out some jazzercise-inspired moves to get the crowd on their feet.

ENCORE:

15. En Love

Lizzo "En Love" Live @ The Anthem, Washington, DC 5.1.18

Another early cut from Lizzo’s discography, this song is one of my go-tos for a Friday night, and a guarantee for an explosive start to an encore. Like Lizzo herself, “En Love” is graceful, powerful, and playful, an anthem about being your own number one. 

16. Cuz I Love You (acoustic)

Lizzo - Cuz I Love You (acoustic; live at The Current)

Lizzo’s exposed vocals on “Cuz I Love You” blew me away from the first listen, but I didn’t truly appreciate her voice control until hearing her perform the song acoustic like she did at her Tiny Desk Concert or her in-studio session at The Current. Seeing a stripped-back performance of this song live would be a memorable way to end a night, leaving Lizzo’s voice ringing in your ears long after walking out of the venue.

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