Normani (Finally) Kicks Off Her Dopamine Era With A Declaration of Futuristic Desire

The singer’s long-awaited debut arrives this summer.

RCA Records

Ever since Fifth Harmony broke up in early 2018, fans of one of the girl group’s particular members, Normani, have had one question: where’s the damn album? The singer and (superb) dancer has been teasing a solo record for nearly half a decade, and now this summer, after many stops and stars (and a label change) she’s finally delivering with Dopamine, out June 14th. On Wednesday, Normani debuted a trailer for the project, giving fans a “First Dose” of the hits of pleasure she’s promising.

Normani loves a reference, but while the video for her 2019 dance-worthy single “Motivation” was a visual treasure trove of call-backs to early 2000s R&B and hip-hop, the trailer for Dopamine takes us back even earlier to the ’90s. Right off the bat, she references Spike Lee’s 1996 comedy Girl 6. That film—which has a who’s-who cast of that era, including Debi Mazar, Madonna, Quentin Tarantino, and a pre-Sopranos Michael Imperioli—is about a young woman who takes a job as a phone sex operator to supplement her acting career. In the Dopamine clip, Normani dons an old-school headset and promises a heavy-breathing man calling from a pay phone to satisfy his “deepest, darkest, wildest desires.” (Teyana Taylor also referenced the cult classic film for her 2020 video for “1800-One-Night.”)

She also references her first Dopamine single, “1:59” with Gunna, who appears in the clip. Normani dons a sleek black bra and sheer black tights as she straddles him, sending her leg straight up to the sky in one of her signature gravity-bending moves. Her hair in a wispy, chopped bang and falling straight down her back, Normani further references ’90s and ’00s divas like Janet Jackson and TLC with a lined, honey-brown hip and belted black trench.

As the trailer continues, Normani promises to take us from the past to the future, as she poses nude, drenched in silver body paint and lightly twerks atop a silver rocket headed straight for the sky. This moment is a nod to both the Dopamine album cover, where she poses on a black rocket, and to her upcoming single “Candy Paint.”

One can’t help but also think of Beyoncé’s Renaissance artwork, with the singer posing nearly nude atop a horse on a black backdrop—not to mention the summer-long obsession with silver clothing and accessories that the superstar’s tour launched. It makes sense, as the fellow Houston native (Normani moved to Beyoncé’s hometown from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina) recently cited Bey as her ultimate inspiration.

“I think that it’s just really cool being able to witness Beyoncé be fearless and do something that is much bigger than herself,” Normani told Billboard back in April. “That’s honestly what I want to see more of in every single space of the music industry, because we deserve that. I also want to see Black women not have to fight so hard. It gets exhausting. We’re just as brilliant. We have amazing ideas, and our resilience.”