Friday 1 July 2022
London rapper melds razor-sharp lyricism, moving vulnerability and compassionate storytelling

2022 is bound to be the year of Little Simz.

The North London bar-spitter has gotten her due with a string of excellent albums – her most recently one has been hailed as among 2021’s very best – and stellar live performances.

The 27-year-old artist’s inventive rap music has been critically lauded, garlanded with prizes (Ivor Novello, NME, BET and a Mercury Prize nomination).

All the way through she has kept true to her art and her own voice.

Simz – born Simbiatu Ajikawo – prioritises self-expression over crowd-pleasing and bandwagon-jumping. Her lyrics are deeply personal, her phrasing is idiosyncratic and her flow is contrarian. This is an artist heading in a direction of her own! And that’s what makes her stand out.

A quick study of various ‘end of year’ lists from 2021 shows that Little Simz is the most frequent list-topper (look here). Her album Sometime I Might Be Introvert is hailed as an instant classic all around!

With Sometime I Might Be Introvert, Simz has created a modern-day epic poem: she allows space to be vulnerable while still spitting braggadocio rhymes and soft third-person storytelling.

Just listen to the single and album opener “Introvert”, how it announces itself with blazing military drums and a spectacular video set in the National History Museum in London. The song takes laser-guided aim against endemic inequality and stacked odds, at mothers endlessly burying sons. It’s tough, real-life material! You will also hear Little Simz rapping about her Nigerian heritage, her troubled relationships and her ambivalence to fame.

The first time Little Simz played at Roskilde Festival was in 2016, she returned in 2018 as part of the big Gorillaz crew when they played Orange Stage in 2018.

Now, she returns under her own name. Judging from the latest live reports (here, here and here), Little Simz is really at the pinnacle of her powers – on stage as well!

Look forward to a nuanced mix of extrovert and introvert qualities, bulletproof confidence with soul-searching emotional vulnerability. Simz brings a virtuosic band who explores the musical spectrum from vintage soul, jazzy funk and silky R&B to trap, grime and stuttering electro-pop.