Little Simz continues to show her enormous talent on her third full-length album ‘GREY Area’. The diverse subject matters, musical styles and the fantastic tempo of the album, switching from the ferocious ‘Venom’ – a full-throttle attack on how women are treated in a male dominated hip-hop scene, over a breathtaking trip-hop beat, to the beautiful and subtle sounds of ‘Pressure’, which is a politically motivated track on recent events in London, and life in an inner-city. It’s an album that is perfectly timed too, at 35 minutes it allows for the topics to be unravelled and the talents of Simz to bear fruit, but without the pace ever feeling like it’s slowing down or reaching a lull. Like a perfectly timed jab to the face, ‘GREY Area’ is an album that demands your attention, in a world where that is hard to attain.
At 25, Simz is at the peak of her powers, still boasting that youthful exuberance and showing off her lyrical prowess, whilst revealing a more vulnerable side to her, falling in and out of love, doubts and becoming more aware of social and political issues. On ‘Boss’ she explicitly puts a middle finger up to failed relationships, with a how dare you not treat me with respect attitude, ‘Wounds’ is a look into the continuing violence plaguing cities across the UK, and ‘101 FM’ recounts life growing up in North London, as an aspiring hip-hop artist. It’s a melting pot of ideas, tales and late night thoughts, with fine production work from childhood friend Inflo, and contributions from Cleo Sol, Chronixx, Little Dragon and Michael Kiwanuka.
Having already made waves in America, spending some time in LA with collective Soulection and others, and co-signs from Kendrick Lamar and Lauryn Hill, this is just the beginning for the Islington-born rapper. ‘GREY Area’ firmly puts her on the map as one of hip-hops rising artists, and it’s just what the genre needs. The introspective and multi-dimensional nature of Simz style will continue to offer something different, and whilst the more outlandish and big arena sounds of other artists can be fun, ‘GREY Area’ shows that a more introverted and quietly confident approach can be just as powerful.
4 / 5
‘GREY Area’ is out now.
Watch the video for the opening track ‘Offence’ below.
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Featured image credit: The Times