Little Simz , ‘a national treasure in waiting’ / SIMBI album review.
It’s a routine for me to regularly check on albums that are soon-to-be released on Apple Music. Just as I was doing that, I stumbled upon this album, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert by Little Simz. The name sounded so attractive, probably because I’m an introvert as well. Not only the name sounded attractive, but also the album cover looks beautiful, it’s one of the best art covers for an album I have seen this year. Only the name and cover art attracted me at first; then I clicked on the album, checked through, and I discovered it would contain 19 songs which would run for over an hour; then I checked the genre, it was Rap, one of my favorite genres. I must confess, I did not know Little Simz up to that moment, whether through her own songs or features. I added the album to my library, and I said to myself “ I would listen to this album, surely ". That’s a short story of how I discovered one of my personal classic albums.
Simbiatu Ajikawo, known as Little Simz, is a British female rapper with a Nigerian heritage. Think about a rapper with properly laid bars and nice flows to express feelings, steps out Little Simz. On this album, Simz speaks about a lot of themes ranging from personal feelings, her legacy, gender discrimination, political views and more. Simz is at her scintillating best on all the tracks of this album, and it’s better than her 2019 LP GREY Area which was well received by listeners. An acclaimed and well appreciated British female rapper is very rare, but Simz is on the path to change that with her latest LP titled Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, which could be abbreviated to SIMBI, which is Simz’s nickname, a short form of ‘Simbiatu’ , her real name. Her creativity is very obvious from the manner in which she crafted the title to her album.
Simz makes music that can’t be replicated, her style is distinctive from her other Grime music counterparts in the UK, she seems to focus more on expressing herself in her own style rather than trying to sound like everyone else to appeal the public listeners and increase her commercial growth. Her lyrics comes from the heart and it’s because she is an introvert. Introverts are people who are more thoughtful, focus their energy inwardly and are connected with their feelings. Every lyric on each track comes from what she feels.
Now, let’s get to a deep analysis of each tracks on the Album.
The perfect intro to the album, a six minutes long track. It’s the best track on the album to give you a perfect knowledge of what journey you’re about engage yourself in. The track starts with an instrumental similar to a battle cry to signify a battle is about to begin. Simz talks about the problems facing the world in the first verse " Mothers burying sons, young boys playing with guns ... / I’m not into politics but I know it’s dark times, parts of the world still living in apartheid (there’s a war) ". The second verse seems to be more personal, talking about her personality, how she has committed herself to the game and also embracing her heritage. " Simz the artist or Simbi the person / I dedicate my life and gave my heart over twenty-something years, Left wondering how I even feel, Or was it was even worth it? / I’m a black woman and I’m a proud one ". Simz said in an interview with Apple Music. “ This track was always going to intro the album ever since it was made ". A perfect intro.
Just as the name implies, this one is specially dedicated to the female gender around the world, to let them know they have her support any time. She is helped on this by Cleo Sol, a British R&B/Soul singer, who makes the hook with her melodious voice. Simz mentions the different qualities of ladies from each continents across the globe. Simz implore women to do things themselves, and rely on no one. A more relaxed track, easy to relate. Simz glides on the beat without stress making it one of the best cuts in the album.
TWO WORLDS APART.
This has a sample of Smokey Robinson’s ‘The Agony and Ecstasy’. Simz is literally flexing on this track. This is a track to let you know you are listening to a Rap album. She explains the two different worlds she lives in.
I LOVE YOU, I HATE YOU.
Perhaps the most difficult song to write in the album, according to Simz. It’s no surprise because of the family issues she faced early on in her life. Simz was able to express her feelings properly about the issues she faced and how she is dealing with it now. " Never thought my parent would give me my first heartbreak ... / Should’ve been the person there to hold me on my dark days ... / Is you a sperm donor or a dad to me? ". All of these lines shows the resentments Simz carries towards her father, she states that it still affects her till today but she is learn to live with it. " Tryna figure out how to approach this in the best way / Hard to not carry these feelings even on my best days ". Despite all that happened, Simz would never disrespect her father. She has a mixed feeling towards him which inspired the theme and title of the song ‘ I love you, I hate you ’.
LITTLE Q PT 1.
Little Q Pt 1 is one of the many interludes in the album. It’s like a short break to another part of the album.
LITTLE Q PT 2.
Little Q Pt 2 is a song which is dedicated to her cousin Qudus. She aims to share the difficult experiences he went through during a period of time in his life. It was so difficult for him to grow having no proper role model or family member to help him through his growing stage. She said " No choice but to be the man of the house ". The hook too is one of the best from the album. Another interesting cut.
The second interlude in the album; although longer than the former. Simz talks about the need to relax when appropriate. You do not need to burn yourself out for humans in the sake of satisfying them. They will take what you give and won’t appreciate you at the end. " Take your time / Inhale, exhale, breathe / Do you want fifteen years or fifteen minutes? / Do not tire yourself out / One foot out of line and you’ll be ridiculed ". This is just to serve as an advice to always ‘Protect your energy’.
" This track sends another reminder, this game (Rap or music generally) is a marathon, not a sprint. So pace yourself!. I know where I’m headed, I’m taking my time, with little breaks here and there. Now I know when to hit the gas, and also when to come off a bit ". Simz said to Apple Music. This is the proper song to send out a warning to other rappers seeking her throne as the Queen of UK rap and also to reaffirm her status as one of the best in the game. She talked about how many she has influenced and clearly states that no one can ‘lace her boots’. " I’m already a legend, you should humble your speech ... / Got a hard drive full of classics ".
This track sees Simz reflecting on her musical journey. Over a decade in the game and she is still bubbling. " I think I need a standin' ovation /Over ten years in the game, I’ve been patient ". Simz also talks about the need to stay true to yourself at all times even though it’s not favourable, " Why the desperate need for an applause? I’ll wait ... / Tell me, please, Why the desperate need to be remembered? " She also gave a standing ovation to everyone that helped on her journey to where she is now.
I SEE YOU.
I see you is a love song. The first in the album, lol. Simz drew inspiration for this song from an exciting period of her life. She needs someone to overlook all of her mistakes and love her dearly, help her solve her problems and keep her company even though she sometimes like to be lonely. This track means so much to her, it’s stationed at the center of her album, which is the heart. A love song laid with bars!.
THE RAPPER THAT CAME TO TEA (INTERLUDE).
The third interlude of the album. A tea serves as an avenue to have a deep and thoughtful conversation with another and it’s obvious in this track. Simz is faced with so many questions about her personality, and her career. " A question, if I may / What’s a girl like you want in a place like this? ". This questions probably stems out of the reason that there are few female successful rappers in Britain and even the world at large. Simz is ready for this challenge despite her introvert nature " However, the extroverts like to be entertained /And I was told you don’t talk much? ". Towards the end of this interlude, it is repeated many times that " It don’t matter where you are / You can still reach for the stars ”. This line effectively showcase Simz’s determination of becoming the greatest female rapper on earth.
On this track we got a glimpse of Simbi the person and also Simz the artist. Simz raps so fast, but Simbi prefers it slow. This is just simz doing her own thing, spitting bars rapidly and witty. " Can’t believe it’s Simbi here that’s had you listenin' ". Simz is letting us know that she has a twin which is Simbi, the introverted part of her, the one that raps slowly.
PROTECT MY ENERGY.
This is perhaps the most distinct track in terms of production. It contains elements of Rock and EDM elements. These elements are properly fused by her long time producer, Inflo. It has that uptempo beat, it is jazzy and groovy. This track is one of the best on the album in terms of production because of its difference from other tracks. Simz speaks about her love for her personality, her Introverted nature. Perhaps this is still Simbi we are listening to. " That’s why I / Love being alone / Protecting my energy ". Simz totally highlights the habits of introverts here when she says " Don’t call me / I don’t wanna speak / I got problems / But I’m not fucking weak ... / Total silence / Is my therapy ". Introverts are deeply connected to their thoughts and are focus their energy inwardly which is evident in those lines.
NEVER MAKE PROMISES (INTERLUDE).
The fourth interlude in the album. These breaks are intentional, as Simz wants the album to have a cinematic feeling, which is why there are a lot of interludes in the album. It’s noticeable that each interlude is a beginning to another theme in the album or production style. Perhaps the most straightforward track. It’s simply an advice never to make promises since nothing is certain in the world. Everything changes, so don’t make promises to anyone because the certainty of keeping them are not balanced.
POINT AND KILL.
This is Simz going back to her roots, Nigeria. This has an Afro-Swing vibe in it. This is the first song Simz sampled an African sound and its a bop. She inquires for the service of Obongjayar, a Nigerian singer on the track. This is the most interesting track for this writer. The verses, the chorus, the groove are all top notch. It’s a throwback to the '90s vibe in Nigeria. ‘Point And Kill’ is a phrase used in Simz’s home country, Nigeria. Whenever you go to a store or abattoir, you pick a fish and they kill for you, that’s what it means in the literally. Metaphorically, it means she would get everything she wants as long as she is determined. " Point and kill / If I want it, it’s mine / You can’t stop it, hey ". This line sums everything up. This is all simbi vibes in here.
FEAR NO MAN.
Simz continues to sample Nigerian vibes. This track is similar to the sound of the great Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, a legend of Nigerian music. Simz is simply showing off her ability to diversify to different sounds and still be comfortable. The track carries a powerful message to Simz’s Rap counterparts that she fears no one in this game and she’s ready to go the long way of cementing her status as one of the best. " Heard they want my crown but I ain’t never stressed though / 'Cause to your career that would be detrimental, c’mon ". A warning to y’all out there.
THE GARDEN (INTERLUDE).
The last interlude of the album. This track is also an advice to listeners from Simz. The track is centered upon building up and holding down your relationships. You have to build your circle well to get the desired result. " All you give will be all you shall receive / Water your seeds, give your garden the love it needs ".
HOW DID YOU GET HERE.
" I want everyone to know how I got here; from the jump, school days, to my rap group. We were just figuring it out, being persistent. I cried whilst writing this song, it all hit me, like I’m actually writing my fourth studio album. Sometimes, I sit and wonder if this is all really true ", she told Apple Music in an interview. The track centers about all the challenges she’s faced on her road to stardom, how she would study rap albums, persistently practice with her group, how she dealt with criticisms she received. Its another track Simz uses to reflect on her career. " pushing, never giving up / They built them walls so high up, and we tore 'em down / They told us no, we said yes”. Her determination has brought her far.
This track is centered on occasions where Simz has been misunderstood. Simz accepts the fact that people misunderstood her aims as an artiste ," There go little Simbi from around the way / She wanted the credibility, never cared for fame ". Simz is not about the fame, she is just about achieving everything she wants. Simz also talks about her issues with her sister, she think her sister misunderstood her as well, " I left the global empire and now she thinks I dissed her / It weren’t that, I just need to explore shit on my own ". Just like the title suggests, this track talks about instances Simz feels she has been misunderstood. A fitting outro.
How do you define a great album? SIMBI album fits into every category. The message each track passes across comes deeply from inside Simz’s mind. She record songs based on her environment, and also what she feels. Her ability to express her feelings with her flows is so pleasant and magical. Away from the songwriting aspect, the overall production of the album is top notch. The diversity of sounds especially, as the album got Rock, Grime, EDM sound and more. The arrangement of the album also needs to be commended. Every track before an interlude has a similar theme to it. The interludes serves as a break point to another part of the album. The interlude makes the listeners feel like it’s a movie, this is the exact picture Simz had in mind by arranging it this way. It’s perfect. From production to sound engineering/quality to songwriting/lyricism, everything is properly fused and balanced. Only few artists can offer this level of versatility on Simz’s album and still make tracks as stunning as the ones on SIMBI album. This is artistry at its finest !.
Little Simz is finally hitting the heights she aims with this album. Woman is well accepted by listeners, Fear No Man is a part of the FIFA 22 selected soundtracks. Point and Kill is a Nigerian bop. She won the Best Female Act at the MOBO awards in December. The fact that British female rappers with commercial success and recognitions are rare makes all of this achievements fantastic. Simz previous LP titled GREY Area only peaked 87 on UK albums chart, SIMBI album would probably give her more commercial success than that. Sometimes I Might Be Introvert album is rated 7.7 on Pitchfork. It would get her more validation even though she maintains that she is not after all of that. She just wants to make music.
Critical reviews online are mostly positive; the negative reviews are centered on the numerous spoken interludes in the album, remove that, you’ve got sixteen fantastic tracks. In fact, people are already wondering how difficult it would be for Simz to topple this album with her next project, it almost seems improbable, but nothing is impossible for Little Simz who doesn’t give room for complacency, but to improve geometrically.
Simz’s ability is there for all to see. Her introversion is helping her discover more of her ability, knowing what she wants and how to get them. Simz has worked her socks off to get to this level she is, and she deserves every success she gets. She is qa ‘national treasure in waiting’ which is gonna blow up soon, then she would be recognised globally and large scale validations would not be a problem.
Sometimes I Might Be Introvert album duly cements Little Simz’s status as Queen of UK rap. A strong contender for both Album of the year and Rap album of the year. SIMBI album is a masterclass.