Little Simz is our One To Watch.
I’ll just be straight with you all on this one: when I think of female emcees, the last people on my mind are recording artists like Nicki Minaj, Kreayshawn, Cher Lloyd, and Iggy Azalea. I’m just not feeling the industry model currently in place for female rappers and it gets even more annoying when you consider the following: if you know hip-hop, then you know there have been and currently are scores of women that can rock the mic just as hard as any of the dudes out here but time and time again, these ladies are overlooked or just flat-out ignored. When you consider the likes of Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes (TLC); Queen Latifah; MC Lyte; Jean Grae; Sister Soulja; Salt-N-Pepa; Lauryn Hill; Foxy Brown; RAPsody; Ana Tijoux; and Rah Digga, I can’t figure out why there aren’t more of their ilk at the forefront of mainstream music… and then I log into SoundCloud and I press play on one of the tracks by Little Simz. Whatever questions I had before engaging her music were immediately answered.
The UK’s current musical renaissance is producing some of the most exciting artists going and where hip-hop is concerned, British emcees are making a real charge. One of them is North London’s own Little Simz and simply put: she’s an absolute force. The production trio High Frequency put me on to Simz a few months ago and I listened to Leave It As That, a fierce yet brooding song where the confidence exudes from each relentlessly delivered bar that Simz spits. In short: I wasn’t just impressed, I was floored by how amazing the track is and I made it a point to check out her SoundCloud. Right away, I got hit upside the head with the banger Diamond. Admittedly, the tone on Diamond is smoother and subdued compared to Leave It As That but the lyrics and delivery combined to become heavier than the anvils Wile E. Coyote orders from ACME. Even in the wake of brilliant tracks like Marilyn Monroe (featuring the dope UK hip-hop tag-team Chucks & Remus), the magnanimous Cartoon & Cereal, and P.B.G. (Pretty Boy Gangsta), Diamond remains the penultimate favourite of mine. If I didn’t know any better, I’d have thought someone plucked Little Simz out of London and dropped her off in Atlanta for a spell seeing how Simz flows on the track; alternating her delivery from rapid-fire to serene in an remarkably uncomplicated way. She’s also dead right to say that “the wordplay is infectious” because that’s exactly what it is.
Having listened to Little Simz’s recent mixtape XY.Zed – originally dropped in February 2013 – I can confirm that it’s an out and out belter and it deserves every hip-hop listener’s full attention and consideration. In closing, for all the rage and attention that your favourite UK emcee is getting, I humbly believe a talent like Little Simz deserves just as many accolades other emcees get. That said, continue to sleep on the Simz at your own peril.
Stream XY.Zed below.