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Little Simz takes her place in a standout year for hip hop

With the release of “Sometimes I Might Be Introvert,” Little Simz continues a prolific streak.

<p>Little Simz released her latest album “Sometimes I Might Be Introvert” Sept. 3.</p>

Little Simz released her latest album “Sometimes I Might Be Introvert” Sept. 3.

So far, 2021 has had a lot to offer rap and hip hop fans with album drops from some of the genre’s biggest names. Releases from Drake and Kanye West will likely dominate the conversation for the rest of the year, but one of the U.K.’s most important rappers dropped a new record Sept. 3. “Sometimes I Might Be Introvert” is the fourth studio album from U.K. rapper and actor Little Simz, and it will hopefully remind hip hop fans — especially in the U.S. — that Little Simz is one of the most important voices to pay attention to. While the album may go under the radar for some, it deserves recognition for showcasing the multitalented Little Simz. 

On just the first track, “Introvert,” it is clear Little Simz is out to craft a distinct and creative project. The instrumentation is grand and a wonderful compliment to the variety of topics that are touched on in the song and the rest of the record such as racism, femininity and the place Little Simz feels like she has in music. Throughout the album, Little Simz tackles these themes with precision and grace, which showcases her abilities as a wordsmith. For those interested in the music of Kendrick Lamar —  who is an open fan of Little Simz — this record should not be missed, as Simz follows an approach similar to Lamar’s in creating conscious and genre-bending rap music. 

“Sometimes I Might Be Introvert” features soulful, smooth and lush production that might be a slow burn to some listeners but strengthens Little Simz’s delivery of dense wordplay for those who want to sit back and take in an elegant artistic statement. The record takes notes from older jazz, with the track “Standing Ovation” being very similar to “Could Heaven Ever Be Like This” by Idris Muhhammad. The track “Fear No Man” features no elements of modern hip hop production and sees Little Simz rapping over more traditional drums and wind instruments, creating a personal and unique listen. The album works with different types of instruments and production methods all while keeping a consistent sound. 

“Woman” is a standout track with its beautiful instrumentation and Little Simz’s examination of the important women — Black women in particular —  that have shaped her life and the world at large. In her first verse, Little Simz shouts out the women of Sierra Leone as “lookin’ like a gem,” recognizing them as beautiful while also acknowledging the history of gem mining that has taken advantage of Black people in the area. 

Little Simz approaches a variety of topics to discuss in her music, one of them being her place as a rapper in British culture. The track “The Rapper Who Came To Tea — Interlude” sees Little Simz examining her introverted nature and her desire to take her place in a culture where she has not found total acceptance. With rap as an art form often going unappreciated because of its connection to Black culture, “Sometimes I Might Be Introvert” challenges this notion by crafting a rap record that uses traditionally elegant sounds to prove that Little Simz deserves a seat at the table when discussing the most important U.K. musicians.

While this record may not be groundbreaking or game-changing for the rap industry, it is incredibly consistent and an excellent addition to Little Simz’s already acclaimed discography. It is a testament to Little Simz’s talent that a release that does not particularly stand out for her is still leagues beyond most of the work from today’s rappers. Little Simz has already received critical acclaim and respect, and hopefully her cultural significance will only continue to rise in the U.S. with her excellent releases. For those interested in hip hop and rap in 2021, “Sometimes I Might Be Introvert” should be required listening.