Carrying on from my album review last week, I want to highlight another artist who has also put out an album that warrants everyone’s attention. Coincidentally, she’s an artist that has also collaborated with Cleo Sol. I found out about this artist after watching season 3 of “Top Boy”, that she’s not only an actress but a rapper as well (a damn good one at that). Before the year’s out, we need to have a real discussion about an album that not only reflects on the beauty and hardships of being black but also being a woman. Without further adieu, I’d like to take a moment to really dive into Little Simz’s album titled “Sometimes I Might Be Introvert“.
*Disclaimer: I am a man giving my views on the album but I am not trying to speak for women in this review. *
As I continue to say in these reviews, to me, intros and outros are super important to the listening experience. This intro right here?! Cinematic. It sounds like the opening credits are starting and the movie is about to begin. It honestly sounds like the intro to the black awakening or something and she’s got the bars to match.
Ayo, this song goes hard. The video is hard too. Even the way the camera is angled in different scenes makes these women appear greater than their surroundings. They look like royalty. I’d quote the bars in this one but just watch the video. You’ll feel them in ways better than I can explain them. Little Simz and Cleo Sol need to keep collaborating.
Little Simz AND a Smokey Robinson sample?! Yeah, I’m here for this man. This sounds like hip-hop at its essence. It’s music from London but the respect for hip-hop is the same. The backpack rappers will appreciate this one as she changes her cadence and her flow throughout her verses. This is hip-hop people.
This is definitely one of my favourite songs on the album. The content of this record is so real. It’s her addressing her emotions and the trauma that came with her father not being a part of her life. You always hear the stories of the impact of a missing father on sons but you rarely hear the perspective of daughters. Especially black daughters. To me, this song is just so important.
“Never thought my parent would give me my first heartbreak
Anxiety givin’ me irregular heart rate
Used to avoid gettin’ into how I really feel about this
Now I see how fickle life can be and so it can’t wait
Should’ve been the person there to hold me on my dark days
It’s easier to stargaze and wish than be faced with this reality
Is you a sperm donor or a dad to me?”
From my understanding, Little Q is Little Simz cousin from South London. They were distant for a while but once they reconnected, she found out a lot more about his upbringing and how he almost lost his life. This reconnection leads to her telling the story of his upbringing from his perspective in the next song.
“Shit changed when I had a brief encounter with death
Thought the pearly gates opened when that knife was in my chest
Not the mental scars, the physical’s all you see
But the boy that stabbed me is just as damaged as me
I could have been the reflection that he hated
The part of him he wishes God did not waste time creating
The broken homes in which we’re comin’ from, but who’s to blame when
You’re dealt the same cards from the system you’re enslaved in?”
Heavy content right here. This sums up the situation black boys face in some cities when they go outside. We might be separated by a body of water but the pain black boys experience growing up in North America is no different from that in the UK.
This is an interlude that highlights Little Simz addressing her self-doubt and learning to put herself first. We’re so hard on ourselves and try to always be perfect. Sometimes you just need to take a second and remember you’re human. You can only do so much.
This is Little Simz on her more braggadocious* tip. It’s a race to the top and she ain’t here to play. A Jimmy Kimmel performance for a UK artist solidifies that.
This is another standout song to me. The consistency of cinematic feeling production shines through again on this song and she’s talking that talk. This is a song I keep coming back to.
“I know my people wanna see me win, I’ll never let you down
Standin’ ovation for the one who’s wearin’ a crown
I got royalty In my blood, I was born great
Don’t allow anyone to undermine your fate”
This here is a great song about love but from the perspective of a black woman that’s an artist. We’ve seen it before but you could argue that we might not have heard it from such a raw and honest perspective in rap.
“Would you take me as I am? Overlook all my mistakes?
Though correct me when I’m wrong, humble me, put me in my place?
Would you be the one I come to when I’m needin’ an escape?
Still be my biggest fan if I canceled all my dates?
I got shit I haven’t dealt with, would you help me through my pain?”
Heavy interlude with a lot of self-reflection. These interludes are great because they continue to highlight thoughts that we all have. Being an artist or a celebrity doesn’t make you immune to these thoughts and the vulnerability Little Simz shows here really makes her relatable to the listener.
“The bravest of hearts can sometimes be the loneliest of souls
And pride comes with pain
So, to be proud is a losing game
Are you the type to run or dance in the rain?”
This song stands out to me because the flow is different than what she’s uses on pretty much any other song on this album. Nice to get this change 12 tracks in. Keeps you locked in.
This song stands out as well but more so because it sounds entirely different than every other song on this album. Little Simz is singing and it makes you wanna dance fam. I think this song would be a hit at live show or at a kickback!
“Never make promises, never make promises
Nothing ain’t promised at all
Oh, when we fight, we fold”
I’d explain this one but if you listen to the song, these lyrics repeat again and again. They explain themselves honestly. Nothing’s promised.
Big chune! *gun fingers in the air*
When I first heard this song I thought to myself, “this song needs a video, it sounds like a movie score”. Didn’t have to wait too long for that. This is yet another moment where Little Simz excelled at creating a video that matches the energy of the song you heard.
This is Little Simz channeling her confidence as an emcee into a song. She’s not afraid of anyone in rap and has no problem telling you that it’s exactly how she feels. She wants all the smoke on a beat that makes you truly feel like you’ve been transported to a village in Africa. To be honest with you, I really rate it.
“I get what I want when I want it
More time, I don’t even want it, to be honest
To you, my life like a movie on steroids
But to me, it’s just another day at the office
Put my mum on the cover of GQ
You can’t relate ’cause that’s somethin’ that G’s do”
What I got from this interlude is that we need to value and take care of the relationships we have. The relationships with others and ourselves.
“Water your seeds, give your garden the love it needs”
To me, this is like Little Simz version of Drake’s “Look What You’ve Done“. I don’t mean that in a disrespectful sense but in a complimentary one. It doesn’t sound exactly like it but the theme of reflecting on all the stuff you went through to get to this point is similar. This is one of those pick-me-up songs when you’re having a bad day. Especially with those background choir vocals.
This is an outro everybody! This is probably my favourite song on the album. This woman is doing what she needs to do to close out this album properly. The song title is clever, the beat is cinematic, the bars are impactful and her rap cadence is spot on for an outro.
I can feel your pain
I can see your tears
You’re Miss Understood”
It’s a longer body of work (an hour and five minutes in length) but it is so worth your time. This is one of the best albums to bless your ears this year. It’s not just an album where she showcases the level her pen is on, or her ability to deliver hard-hitting bars but it’s also an album that you can truly understand and feel. This album makes you feel like you went to the movie and saw a film that tugged at your emotions. It’s beautiful to see a black woman display the strength to be this vulnerable and let her art speak for itself. I don’t know what your top albums of the year list look like but remember I told you to add this amazing body of work.
braggadocious – to talk extensively about what you do better than others