Fiercely confident and unapologetically forthright, the stunning new album from Little Simz is a reminder of her bold – and, sadly, sometimes underrated – talent. With punching bass lines and whip-smart melodies, 25-year-old Simbi Ajikawo takes us on a wild ride through her world, laying her vulnerability bare with admirable openness.
The London rapper has been co-signed by Kendrick Lamar and was the first independent artist on Forbes’ ‘30 under 30’ list. But her previous record, 2016’s ‘Stillness In Wonderland’, flew under the mainstream’s radar, perhaps because it’s a knotty concept album that demands the listener’s close attention. She’s since confessed that she’s questioned her craft, and wondered whether her hard work is worth not having her loved ones around. Well, ‘Grey Area’ is filled with immediate, punchy hooks, and we’re all the better for it.
Across these 10 tracks, Simz utilises her most valuable commodity: honesty. Having stripped away the narrative cloak that shrouded the highlights of ‘Stillness In Wonderland’, she’s crafted a knockout record – and finally come true on her early promise. This is the best rap record of the year so far.