Wonderland.

LITTLE SIMZ

With the release of her highly anticipated fourth album, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, the artist proves herself to be one of the greatest lyrical geniuses of our generation and beyond.

Imagery taken from the Summer 21 issue.

Imagery taken from the Summer 21 issue.

“I know I’m not nameless,” Little Simz told Zeze Millz in an unforgettable interview for her Wonderland Summer 21 cover story. “Like I know I have a name and people know who I am. But I don’t feel like, ‘Rah, I’m Little Simz.’”

Since the release of her debut album back in 2015, 27-year-old Little Simz – born Simbiatu Ajikawo – has felt underrated. And rightly so. Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Lauryn Hill and more are united in their unwavering praise for the lyrical maverick. Her loyal fans compare her to “Picasso with a pen” because of her incomparable and academically savvy bars. But for all the innate power of her lyrics and what she stands for; Simz undeniably deserves more recognition. I first saw her live 7 years ago, her razor-sharp poeticism was just as apparent then, as it is now. At All Points East last weekend, her magnetic presence swallowed the hypnotised crowd whole.

Perhaps until now, her introversion has separated her from explosive mainstream success – not that chart-topping is especially on her agenda. Or simply put, it’s more difficult – or definitely a more trepid journey – to make it as a woman in the male-saturated world of rap (just listen to the album’s breakout track “Woman”). Either way, this is something she’s still trying to figure out. But one thing is for certain: her new album bulldozes any barriers she’s previously built to protect herself. Giving every distant thought and recent anxiety a catchy melody, this album strips back the definition of honesty to its bare bones. So if you didn’t already know Little Simz before, there’s no excuse now. Her fourth album, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, undeniably cements her as not only one of the most intelligent wordsmiths of our generation, but of any lyrical genius that precedes her.

Little Simz
Little Simz

Imagery taken from the Summer 21 issue.

Little Simz
Imagery taken from the Summer 21 issue.
Little Simz

The introspective album is hard to define, which only makes you want to listen to it more – despite its whopping 19 track playlist – 12 of the original songs, of which some didn’t make it onto the final record, were all recorded in one day. It harmoniously hiccups across afrobeat, hip-hop, rap, soul, dance, electronica, jazz, R&B and more with the help of long-time friend and producer Inflo whilst interweaving a conscious narrative on the power and fragility of family, self-assurance, self-growth and the crumbling world around her. The Crown’s Emma Corrin even makes a guest appearance with a beautiful interlude tying the story together. But back to Simz, Her album is as equally tender as it is tenacious, penning piercing lyrics that leave her vulnerability spilling out and open for the taking whilst ferociously taunting you to reach out and grab it if you dare. Simz might be an introvert, but she’s also as self-confident in her own artistry as they come. And it’s this consistent see-sawing between self-deprecation and self-approval – with the backdrop of Britain’s political apocalypse – underpinning the entire album which makes it so nauseatingly brilliant.

From the very first thundering drum roll that opens the album with aptly named track “Introvert”, the seismic impact of Simz’s authentic flow is made known. From intimate odes to her relationship with her father on “I Love You, I Hate You” (which she describes as “not really about him. It’s about me, and how him not being present in my life has affected my romantic relationships, my friendships – all of those kinds of things…so this is a part of me letting go I guess. It’s acceptance”) to the introspective rumination on her influence as an artist (I could buy your life with no excuses/ If I had penny for all the rappers that I influence/ I know what I bring yo I ain’t stupid) and her success within the broken world (I’m not into politics/ But I know it’s darks times/ Parts of the world still living in apartheid/ But if I don’t take this winners flight/ That’s career suicide) Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’s lyrical dexterity is powerful enough to be studied in an English Literature exam alongside Shakespeare’s overanalysed plays. Simz, is a modern-day poet and it’s about time the world listened to her story.

Little Simz
Little Simz

Imagery taken from the Summer 21 issue.

Little Simz
Imagery taken from the Summer 21 issue.
Little Simz

“I don’t really fuck with the idea of giving people their flowers when it’s too late. It’s like stepping out of a relationship…now you want to tell this person how much you appreciate them?” She told Millz as she continued chatting on her bed, surrounded by croissant crumbs, for our cover story. “But it’s done now. While people are here and while they’re still present, appreciate them and give them their flowers and make them feel loved and supported.”

With the release of this intensely personal album– undeniably the best of the year – I hope Little Simz is standing in her bedroom mirror screaming at the top of her lungs: “Rah, I’m Little Simz.” And finally, hears the world shouting her name right back. It’s time to give Simz her flowers.

Words
Ella Bardsley
LITTLE SIMZ

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