Little Simz: Sometimes I Might Be Introvert (Age 101) - review | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, October 21st, 2021  

Little Simz

Sometimes I Might Be Introvert

Age 101

Oct 07, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


London’s own Little Simz is an enigmatic rarity. For one thing, the very fact that she’s a female rapper in a male dominated genre (regrettably hip-hop is hardly alone in this phenomenon) allows her to provide unique perspectives when contrasted with her male counterparts. Unlike so many of her contemporaries, she isn’t a product of well-placed marketing. Her social media presence is negligible and her public profile non-existent.

But you can’t deny talent.

2019’s GREY Area presented Simz at her tightest: 10 tracks over 35 minutes with less repetitive beats to rhyme over. The choice to strip back allowed Simz to showcase her talent as a skilled lyricist, the talent that caught the attention of hip-hop’s underground in the first place. The talent that led actual rap deity Kendrick Lamar to describe her as “the illest doing it right now,” stupidly high praise in the cut-throat world of hip-hop. And while she doesn’t have Lamar’s pop appeal—it’s doubtful she’ll score a crossover hit like “King Kunta” or “DNA.”—she shares Lamar’s ability to conceptualize weighty topics in a way that’s still remarkably accessible.

In an era where others contract, Simz expands. Consider “Introvert,” the opening track to her new album, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert: a conventional approach dictates a song about introversion might yield some “woe is me” minimalistic ballad. Instead, the 26 year-old explores introversion as not just a barrier to social interaction, but a source of artistic power, brought to life atop thunderous, opulent instrumentation complete with anthemic horns and strings that wouldn’t be out of place in a new James Bond movie. The message is made clear in the second verse: “Project with intention straight from my lungs/I’m a Black woman and I’m a proud one”

In a way, it encapsulates the rest of the Sometimes I Might Be Introvert: Bombastic, bold, and vulnerable. It’s easily her most ambitious effort to date: 19 tracks over the course of an hour and yet somehow, it feels as though nothing is wasted. For the first time, Simz turns inwards and pours herself—her fears, her insecurities—all over her songs. Perhaps nowhere else is this more evident than on the brutally honest “I Love You, I Hate You,” where she wrestles with mixed feelings toward her absent father before she finally concludes, “I’m not forgiving for you, man/I’m forgiving for me.” The fabric of the album is bound with theatrical Wizard of Oz-esque interludes, complete her own Glenda the Good Witch character (portrayed by Emmy nominated actress Emma Corrin of The Crown) to guide Simz through her journey of self-exposition. She’s part confidant, part voice of encouragement, relaying wise maxims such as “Masking your emotions is a weakness/It’s a kindness to let people in.”

Simz’s trademark sense of bravado still shines through, bolstered by the colorful production of longtime producer Inflo (of neo-soul collective Sault). There’s a diverse range of influences on display, from Smokey Robinson on “Two Worlds Apart” to Nigerian Afro-beat on “Point and Kill” and “Fear No Man.” The ’80s funk on “Protect My Energy” is reminiscent of the late MF DOOM’s cult classic “Deep Fried Frenz,” while the aforementioned “Introvert” has perhaps the best use of strings in a rap song since Del the Funky Homosapien and Dan the Automator teamed up for Deltron 3030. The result is an exciting listen that keeps you on your toes and never bores, even in its most reflective moments.

Perhaps a good point of comparison for Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is Kanye West’s critically acclaimed opus, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. While more feature oriented than Simz’s work, both build a grand, fantastical environment to confront their own artistic egos and deep emotional scars with great vulnerability. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is often considered the best album of 2010 and one of the best of the entire decade, but Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is maybe preferable, if only because Simz is more likable these days. It’s the kind of project that cements her status as one of the most talented artists of her generation. Oh, and she’s only 26. (www.littlesimz.com)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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