Welcome to “New Music with Nick.” In this column, I will be reviewing some of the most notable new album releases across various genres, focusing on hip-hop, R&B and pop music. Join me in exploring the ever-shifting landscape of the streaming era.
Little Simz: “Sometimes I Might Be Introvert” (Sept. 3, 2021)
Simbiatu Ajikawo, better known by the stage name Little Simz, is someone that any fan of hip-hop should familiarize themselves with. Two and a half years following “Grey Area,” the 27-year-old UK rapper valiantly returned with her fourth studio album, “Sometimes I Might Be Introvert” (or “SIMBI”).
Following up “Grey Area” was no small task. Simz’ last full-length album was an iconic project that I view as a modern classic and one of the best albums of the last decade. But, starting as early as its strategic rollout, “SIMBI” did not disappoint. It was easily one of my favorite album rollouts of the last few years, creating lead singles that were not only amazing music pieces by themselves, but that provided unique sounds, styles and visuals that built the foundations for a grand adventure of an album.
“Introvert” began the exciting rollout by creating a cinematic journey with its video. Unreal production created the aura of an intense film soundtrack while Simz delivered profound bars, reminding everybody of her astonishing writing skills.
Following the debut single was the Cleo Sol-assisted “Woman,” and a marvelously produced uplifting anthem of empowerment was released. “Rollin Stone” and “I Love You, I Hate You” rounded out the singles, each providing something unique to the collection. Due to this rollout, “SIMBI” was not only one of the most anticipated albums of the year for me, but it was one of the more anticipated albums that I have ever waited on.
No bad songs exist on the album; even the interludes are phenomenal. (Seriously, they are easily some of the best interludes, if not the best, I have ever heard on an album). Every track is special enough to be pulled out and dissected on its own as a unique and magnificent piece of art. Although every song is wonderful, “Two Worlds Apart” really stands out as one of my favorites. With perfection in sampling, writing and delivery, Simz’s open exposition of her feelings is portrayed with grace and wit. Even my least favorite tracks on “SIMBI” were still very strong. The incredible consistency of the album compliments the coherence, as not only are all of the songs great, but they fit together effortlessly.
The narrative ability of Simz is nearly unmatched in the world of music. Her ability to take the listener on these grand journeys through her life and stories, while keeping them grounded in the relatability and humanity of it all is part of what makes her a top artist. Technically, all of her skills are consistently on display as some of the best in the world. Few people can rap at this level. The flows, lyrics and innovation with which she delivers her rapping could not be better.
Inflo also deserves his flowers. With production credits on every single song on the album, the entire sonic foundation was built through his vision. The production was absolutely spectacular, from start to finish. The tracklist contains some of the most well-executed and creative samplings I have ever heard, and there is such a wide variety of diverse, yet cohesive, sounds. I could not imagine a group of 19 songs having a higher average quality of production.
Putting all of this together has created one of the best hip-hop albums of all time. No hyperbole, no exaggeration. It will age into a classic and be forever remembered as a landmark moment in the career of a rapper that will become a legend. All of the music was truly beautiful and felt like it could have only been made by an all-time great.
It is a special time to highlight the diversity and the incredible state that hip-hop is truly in right now. For women in hip-hop, non-Americans in hip-hop and anybody who is a fan of the genre, this album is a very remarkable moment. Albums like “SIMBI” remind you just how incredible music can be.
I have preached for years now that Little Simz will go down in history as one of the greatest rappers of all time. Not one of the greatest “UK rappers” or greatest “female rappers,” just simply one of the greatest rappers of all time. “SIMBI” further builds the legacy of a historic and all-time talent in Little Simz.
Favorite Songs: “Two Worlds Apart,” “Woman,” “Introvert,” “I See You,” “Rollin Stone,” “Miss Understood,” “Little Q, Pt. 2,” “Standing Ovation,” “I Love You, I Hate You”
Album Score: 97/100
Check out this Spotify playlist and like it to follow along with some of my favorite songs of 2021 as the year progresses!
Editor’s Note: This article is a review and includes subjective opinions, thoughts and critiques.