Meaning of “Tempo” by Lizzo and Missy Elliot

“Tempo” by Lizzo and her costar, Missy Elliot, centers on three major themes – body acceptance, intimate innuendos and getting your boogie on.

Lizzo is unconventional in that she is a plus-sized entertainer. In fact she has attributed Missy Elliot, who possesses a comparable body type, with inspiring her to pursue a career in show business despite this uniqueness. And both of these artists are masters at using their physical appearance to their lyrical advantage. As such, Lizzo’s words are largely about her extra-large body parts and the type of work a man would have to put in order to make her happy (from an intimate standpoint). 

Meanwhile Missy isn’t on the intimate tip but sticks more to her traditional theme of using her generous frame to dominate the dance floor. And likewise, she advises all women, especially the “thick girls”, listening to the track to get their party on. In fact the name of the song is to suggest that when it comes to bigger girls, getting busy on the dance floor (as well as the bedroom), they require special attention to do so satisfactorily, as in a faster tempo.

Lyrics of "Tempo"

But “Tempo” is more than just a simple dance song for plus-sized women. Instead it serves as a protest against “skinny” body types that dominate the media and inspires those who are the opposite of this mold to also feel good about themselves. Moreover Missy takes the track to an even higher level by encouraging all female listeners to not only take good care of themselves but also to make that “bread”, as in being ambitious in terms of generating income.

What Lizzo said about “Tempo”

In an Instagram post, Lizzo said she never dreamed that someday she and her hero Missy Elliot would be collaborating on a song. Therefore, the collaboration totally astonished her.

Lizzo talks about "Tempo"

Quick Facts about “Tempo”

  • Songwriter(s): Lizzo and Missy Elliott co-wrote this song with music producer and songwriter Oak (Warren Okay Felder).
  • Producer(s): Oak produced “Tempo” on top of co-writing it.
  • Release Date: “Tempo” was dropped on March 20, 2019.
  • Album/EP: This song came out as the third single from Lizzo’s third solo album titled Cuz I Love You.
  • Interesting Stuff: This collabo marked Lizzo’s first-ever time of working with Missy Elliot who is her hero and inspiration.

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