Explore Issue 01 of LOOP Magazine

Featuring Sam Tompkins and Victor Ray as our cover stars, as well as internal spreads from Girli, Jords, Mysie, Finn Askew, Kara Marni and Master Peace

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Album Review | Little Simz ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’

Four studio albums later and a thriving acting career, you wouldn’t necessarily partner Little Simz and the word introvert together. But that’s what makes this album so special. Simbiatu Ajikawo – Simbi by nickname (and acronym for ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’), peels her layers back further than ever before, to reveal her conflicts between “Simz the artist or Simbi the person”.

Creating an album focused on her triumphs with a contrast of private and hard hitting ordeals, it feels appropriate that Simz brings her acting background into ‘SIMBI’ in such a way that it shapes the entire album. Lead single Introvert, is an incalculable opener which rumbles with orchestral thunder, carrying a  resemblance to the poignant opening scene of Les Miserables in terms of sound and emotional pull. With lyrics depicting her battle with her own self-worth and constant triggers, it’s an intimate insight into the mechanics of an introvert’s mind. As the string sections mellow and the Introvert guitar riff enters for one last time, the theatrical theme gains its peak through the monologue of ‘The Crown’s Lady Di, Emma Corrin, as she takes on the shape of Simbi’s inner conscience throughout the album.

With a track like Venom as her most streamed on Spotify, newbies of Little Simz may not yet be accustomed to her musical diversity. Head nodding number Woman takes on a soul infusion that champions women, which is on the same, if not better, level as Selfish from her previous album ‘Grey Area’. The woozy hip-hop melodies continue in the likes of Miss Understood which wouldn’t look out of place on a Ms. Lauryn Hill record.

Little Simz lays all bare in I Love You, I Hate You, vocalising her relationship with her absent father. Carrying a funk inspired bassline with swagger flowing throughout, Simbi vents her anger maturely with a satisfying hint of shade, spitting “Is you a sperm donor or a dad to me?”, becoming the voice for any child who has pent up anger about growing up without a father figure in their life.

As the record moves on to Little Q, Pt.1, the transition is abrupt, however, the lyrical transition is nothing but smooth. As Simbi’s cousin from her father’s side shows remorse for their distance, “I know we ain’t spoke in a while, And it seems like I only come when I need something”, it’s as though the characters throughout the story get their own sub-plot in this cinematic album. The tempo re-ignites with childlike chants and sweet guitar flicks as Simz takes on the voice of her cousin in Little Q, Pt.2, using the track as a platform to expose how innocent lives can get caught up in amongst the terror of London gang culture.

The smooth tongued voice of Emma Corrin appears in interludes which filter throughout the record as the guardian angel who sits on the shoulder of Little Simz, “Water your seeds, give your garden the love it needs” Corrin proposes in Gems – Interlude. Other Interludes such The Rapper Who Came To Tea – Interlude and The Garden – Interlude all serve as thought provoking nuances which delve into the notion of introversion and self-doubt . Each track takes on the shape of a whimsical fairytale: harps, twinkles and an angelic chorus, no one would bat an eyelid to think you were listening to one of the Disney soundtracks. It’s bizarre to think this would be featured on a rapper’s album, but Simbi’s story is so beautifully articulated, it’s hard not to sprinkle some magic in there.

On the flip side, four albums later Simz believes her own hype, in the least egotistical way possible. Standing Ovation is another operatic big-band style hip-hop driven masterpiece which takes on a personality as lively as a Mike Skinner – The Streets track. Shortly after announcing “I think I need a standing ovation, Over ten years in the game, I’ve been patient”, Little Simz breaks down to pay tribute to “The divine healers, the everyday, low paid believers”, announcing that we all need a pat on the back every once in a while.

Pushing her musical creativity one step further, Simbi strips down to her roots and takes on traditional Nigerian style afrobeats in two following tracks on the record. In Point And Kill, Simz reflects on her successes and ethnicity in one breath. She previously told Apple Music, “the title comes from a phrase used in Nigeria to pick out fish at a market or a store. You point, they kill. But also metaphorically, whatever I want, I’m going to get it in the same way, essentially.”. Fear No Man, takes on a similar vibe in sound and message, as a female rapper she won’t be intimidated by others in the rap game, “Heard they want my crown, but I ain’t stressed though”.

Divine penultimate track How Did You Get Here finally re-iterates Little Simz’ journey to make it as a musician, it serves as a masterclass for any young adult who has a dream they want to pursue. The track is massively emotional as a listener of any kind, Simbi’s path to becoming who she is today was charged with determination and fight, especially with the added pressure of being black, as she admits “Nothing in life comes easy and you work twice as hard ’cause you black, Used to think mum exaggerated ’til the world showed me it’s fact”.

It’s by no surprise that the album is already critically acclaimed. What other rapper has created a cinematic masterpiece without the use of a camera? ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’ is a hair-raising experience which constantly prods at the mind to leave you setting the record up on repeat for many months ahead.

Words by Izzy Sigston

Posted On 4 October, 2022