You’ve heard “Truth Hurts.” That’s a near certainty, unless you haven’t turned on a radio or browsed social media this year. The song, by Houston-raised singer/rapper/flautist Lizzo, originally dropped in 2017 as a stand-alone single. Yet because it also appears on the deluxe version of her 2019 album Cuz I Love You—and thanks to a recent surge in popularity—there’s a possibility “Truth Hurts” could notch a 2020 Grammy nomination for Song of the Year despite its past release date. Now that the Grammys’ tricky eligibility requirements have deemed it a worthy contender, we’ll have to wait until November 20 to see whether the song is nominated. Regardless of what happens, we have our own reasons why it’s more than deserving of a Grammy.
1. “Truth Hurts” has achieved a remarkable rise
As of last week, Lizzo has her first number one record. “Truth Hurts” finally reached the top spot of Billboard’s Hot 100 list after seventeen weeks on the chart—nearly two years after its initial release. Despite abundant social media love and plentiful radio airplay, her hit single “Juice” peaked at number 82 on the chart, and her Missy Elliot collaboration “Tempo” didn’t make the Hot 100 at all. Some have speculated that the release of the Netflix movie Someone Great played a major role in the song’s rise to the top, but we have our doubts that the streaming service deserves the credit. Billboard staffers contemplated the late success of the song after it reached the top 10 in early July, and Christine Werthman summed it up best: “This song might have started on the fringes, but it was always meant to go big.”
2. It gets better with every performance
In 2019, Lizzo has graced the stages of music festivals, talk shows, awards shows, and one tiny desk. “Truth Hurts” seems to get better and better with each successive live performance. Back in April, Lizzo experienced frustrating technical difficulties at Coachella, but nevertheless made it through without missing a beat. Later in June, she blew away the BET Awards audience, Rihanna included, belting the breakup anthem while descending from the top of a massive wedding cake and breaking out into one of her signature flute trills while dancing. NPR invited her to feature on its Tiny Desk Concerts series, during which she sang a stripped-down version of the song with only a small band and her own vocals, proving she could command an audience without all the usual bells and whistles. Most recently, she opened with “Truth Hurts” at MTV’s Video Music Awards last month, reunited with her usual girl squad dressed in bright outfits, breaking out dance numbers, playing in front of an inflatable, wobbling butt so massive it almost stole the show. Point is, Lizzo somehow outdoes herself again and again. Instead of growing tired of an almost two-year-old song, you’re left wanting more of it.
3. It’s become a meme sensation
If we’ve learned anything from Lil Nas X’s record-breaking number one hit, “Old Town Road,” which sat at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for more than seventeen weeks straight, it’s that memes may be more powerful than we think. They took the once underground artist to the number one spot and kept him there for so long in the first place. Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” followed a similar blueprint. The first twenty seconds of the song alone inspired memes like the line “I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% ___,” with Twitter users filling in the blank. This same phenomenon happened on TikTok with the #DNATest Challenge, which called for TikTok users to film themselves swabbing their mouths with a cotton swab to the line and running wild. That one got so popular it caused Lizzo to create her own DNA Test (which naturally spurred even more people to participate on social media). She also used the song’s opening line, “Why men great ‘til they gotta be great,” as a response to the frustrating Democratic presidential debates. If the memedom is a factor in choosing Grammy nominees, then “Truth Hurts” is a lock.
4. The power of Lizzbians should not be underestimated
This is less a reason why “Truth Hurts” is deserving of a Grammy nomination than it is a bit of advice to the nominating committee. Much like Beyonce’s Beyhive and Megan thee Stallion’s Hotties, Lizzo has an official name for her fans: “Lizzbians.” There are countless Lizzo “stan” accounts on Instagram and Twitter dedicated to reposting the singer’s videos, lyrics, and every move. Her steady rise would not have occurred without their backing, and Lizzbians have gotten the artist’s song to the number one spot, against all odds. So the committee should keep that in mind: Their force, as they’ve proven, is strong.