Sequels rarely match up to their predecessors, and the latest remix of SZA’s chart-topping song “Kill Bill,” is no exception.
In 2021, R&B singer SZA and rapper Doja Cat collaborated on “Kiss Me More,” a single off Doja’s third studio album “Planet Her.” The song saw critical acclaim and massive success being nominated for multiple awards and winning “Collaboration of the Year” in 2021 at the American Music Awards, “Top Viral Song” at the Billboard Music Awards and “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance” at the Grammys in 2022.
But some magic just can’t be recreated.
In 56 seconds, Doja Cat creates a story of jealousy, heartbreak and anger for listeners to experience. She spits bars about arriving at her ex’s new home and catching him with his new girlfriend. A fight breaks out and, in the tussle, Doja kills the girlfriend.
Whether the murder was an accident or on purpose is left up to listeners to decide as she ends her verse with “but that shot wasn’t for her/ Was it?”
Doja’s delivery feels hostile yet tired, her voice holding a rasp reminiscent of the sore throat that comes from crying too hard, only adding a layer of heartbreak to the narrative. Lines like: “I wasn’t cryin’, I was starin’ and forgot to blink,” will resonate with anyone that has tried to hide their hurt with anger.
In every sense, Doja captures the essence of the original “Kill Bill,” but the shoddy production is the remix’s biggest flaw.
While her verse is incredible both in story-telling and delivery, the production of the remix feels rushed and lazy. Doja Cat’s bars feel disconnected from the music with her bars sitting noticeably higher than the backtrack. This is only made worse by SZA’s chorus and verses which still retain the masterful production of the original.
Narratively, Doja’s verse also feels misplaced in the song. The original “Kill Bill” builds on its themes of heartbreak and betrayal until it reaches the point of full hostility. Doja’s verse being at the start of the remix throws a wrench into the natural flow of “Kill Bill” taking the listener out of the experience, especially for those already familiar with the original.
Instead, the verse would fit better before the bridge. Placing it there would fit the continuity of “Kill Bill” and create an even stronger narrative with both women reaching the breaking point at the same time.
With an award-winning duo and a song that held the #1 spot on Billboard’s “Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs” chart for 16 weeks, the remix had the ingredients to be amazing, but poor production rendered it disappointing at best. While the remix might be a miss for some, there is no doubt it will find success on music charts, hopefully spurring another collab in the future. Third time’s the charm, right?