Photo Credit: Nwaka Okparaeke
When soul dominated the airwaves like in the days of Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson, and when hip-hop intersected the genre is where we find Little Simz: A British-Nigerian born rapper with an ear for old soul, and the tongue of an experienced MC. She takes hip-hop to the heights of Lauryn Hill and Kanye, while still keeping herself lyrically grounded with conscious ideas and themes. On her latest release Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, we find Little Simz redefining a genre at its roots.
The album opens with “Introvert” which sounds like the instrumental of when a champion enters the arena. The horns blare as they set up a smooth transition into the soulful track. Simz raps about her introverted nature, with confidence and surprising poise befitting a rap veteran. On “Woman” we stick with the same vibe: easy soul over hip-hop drums. “Two Worlds Apart” might be the smoothest (and personal favorite) track on the album. The sample is taken right from the book of Kanye and her flow gives us all the feels.
“I Love You, I Hate You” gives us the bounce the album seemed to be missing. It’s a fast-paced record that recalls why she loves and hates the person she’s rapping about. “You’re in my DNA, and that’s why I love you, I hate you”, tells us everything we need to know. “I See You” is a nice ride. The production is subtle like a small wave. Simz is the boat that navigates this sea with ease. Her vocals are easy and match the rhythm perfectly.
“Rolling Stone” gives us a little afrobeat with a lot of attitude. It has elements of trap and a dash of screwed and chopped. “Protect My Energy” is the closest there is to a pop crossover. It’s a club joint in its aesthetic and Simz sings most of the song. “Point And Kill” is a deep-rooted afrobeat track containing the only feature on the album, the phenomenal Obongjayar a Nigerian-born musician. They compliment each other the way winds compliment a sail. They take turns navigating these waters with verses that fill the track with old Nigerian roots.
“Miss Understood” is another smooth ride. The production is simple and Simz flow matches it right off of the bat. “How Did We Get Here” could be a lost track from Jay-Z’s masterpiece The Blueprint. The production is piano-driven, over old soul vocals that become a choir of soul, matched with the contemporary MC’s flow. This might be Simz most standout performance on the album. Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is a solid album in every way and with it an effort like this, it is clear that Little Simz is poised to continue doing big things in hip-hop.