Little Simz: A Voice For Our Times
2021 has seen the return of British hip hop artist Little Simz, who released her fourth studio album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert at the beginning of September.
For longtime fans of Little Simz, the album is a stunning moment of elevation from the artist. For newcomers, it was a breath of fresh air from one of British music’s most important voices. Sometimes I Might Be Introvert continues to explore the rapper’s natural sense of storytelling, while going deeper on themes of growth, self-awareness and maturity.
Little Simz, who has been shouted out by everyone from Stormzy to Kendrick Lamar, is properly having her *moment* with this album and, as someone who has been excited to see more success come her way for years, it makes me happy. What’s more, Little Simz’s vision and approach to music and creativity has remained uncompromised. Instead of being silenced or discouraged by industry pressure, Simz is at her most unapologetic on Sometimes I Might Be Introvert. And she’s being celebrated for it, as she should.
And while the 2021 record feels like a breakthrough moment for Little Simz, her journey to this point stretches back over a decade. Developing her voice and craft across a range of mixtape releases from 2010 – 2013, Simz dropped a series of EPs in 2015 before the arrival of her debut album A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons the same year. Through the process, Simz’s fanbase and industry profile grew – largely centred around her unique voice and unashamedly individuality as a wordsmith and MC.
2016’s Stillness In Wonderland continued to push the envelope and generate well-deserved momentum in London circles but, with the release of her third album Grey AREA in 2019, Little Simz’s profile took off globally.
The album was introspective and personal but at the same time, knew how to vibe out and enjoy the moment. Interviewing Little Simz during this time in her life, she told me genesis stories of the songs, how therapeutic creating the record was and how it aided her own personal journey of self-discovery, artistry and creativity. Speaking with her at that time, I knew that I was talking with someone who was teetering on that precipice of full blown renown.
Grey AREA set Little Simz up with its masterful take on real life issues and hurdles and by the time Sometimes I Might Be Introvert made its way into her life, Little Simz was able write with even more perspective and reflection on these things than before. She mentioned during our interview in 2019 that music had been a salve for her; an escape and a way to channel emotion. The significance of the craft and its impact on Simz, who now has praise and accolades alike for her writing, has been magnified with this latest album.
She never once feels out of place amongst the new expansive arrangements on this album. The interludes we hear have their place within the broader context of Sometimes I Might Be Introvert; nothing is played cheaply or for effect. But of course it wouldn’t be – it’s not Simz’s style.
What is her style though, and it’s something that has remained as such from the beginning of her career ‘til now, is the unshakeable sense of realness Simz brings to each project. Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is an album that, in its title, hints to a guard being up; but to immerse yourself in the material, it doesn’t take long for that guard to fall and for the listener to be welcomed into her world. And once we’re there, the experience is exhilarating.
Little Simz’s Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is out now