Little Simz - Grey Area
Over the course of this writing project I have run into more than a few pitfalls. Self doubt, unreal expectations and blind adherence to arbitrary rules of my own creation. If I couldn't dive into a album and really give it a long write up I felt like I was failing. Heaven forbid i miss a day and throw everything into a tizzy. Well, I've come to the realization of late that it is not about how much or how detailed I write, it's about how an album moves me and how I can communicate that to someone else. Maybe that is a few paragraphs, maybe its a sentence, but maybe it could be only a word. This thought freed me up from the block I was feeling and felt like a reopening of my mind which had been put into a bit of a box. Writing started becoming a chore rather than a joy, I was putting pressure on it like it is a job which it certainly is not. Hell, I don't even allow ads on my page so that it doesn't dilute the honest intentions. All this is to say, maybe some of structure might change, maybe I won't write as much for each review, or maybe I will, I'm just gonna let it ride. It's a shame I had to come to this point while reviewing the stellar new record from Little Simz because it truly does deserve all the praise. I've written about the stagnation of hip hop and trap over the past year to six months so that is why it's so wonderful to hear an album that breaks hip hop out of that mold.
I typically am super critical of hip hop from the UK, because it's usually pretty bad. However Little Simz finds this wonderful blend between hip hop, R&B and jazz that feels light and fun as hell. Her lyrical skills are also incredible bouncing from beat to beat, style to style, without a single hiccup. She doesn't lean into her accent like a lot of UK rappers do and it gives her a more robust vocabulary, but it never feels too heady or out of reach. This record also doesn't feel over produced which is nice for a modern hip hop record. With the rise of the super producer the track has often become more important than the singer, a big shift for pop music, but this album bucks that trend. Little Simz's music doesn't feel like it is to be bigger than it is, it finds a lane and then uses that to it's fullest extent. The way this album succeeds is not by reliving the past but by recognizing the past while still creating music that is future looking. Old School Hip Hop drips all over this record but it doesn't feel like a throwback, just allowing that sound to make the album soar. A total stunner of a record and one you will want to listen to over and over again.
9.0 out of 10