Finding a neat and clean classification for Little Simz' music is near impossible. Yes, it's obviously hip hop, but there are still qualities that are sorely overlooked when it is flippantly labeled as such. Taking sanctuary in her U.K. room, she has been able to hone a sound that is both wholly universal and unique, capturing the ears of listeners across the pond. Only a few artists from England are able to make a significant impact Stateside, which makes the glowing endorsements Simz has received (from numerous outlets) significant. More importantly, they demonstrate her ability to manipulate the art form to fit her needs, instead of simply trend hopping.
On Simz' latest project, E.D.G.E., she forgoes the big named features or attention demanding producers; believing that her lyrical tact and sublime beat selection could keep listeners engrossed the entire time. Her gamble pays off serious dividends. After one go-through listeners would have learned a considerable amount about the young emcee. She reveals her many different layers, thoughts, history, and personality subtly all throughout.
Simz's content is a mix of energetic, youthful ambition, social consciousness, spirituality, and well timed braggadocio. Songs like "The Hamptons", form at the intersection of all of this themes, coming together to create a space age hustler anthems. It's hard not to fall in line with her dreams, as she uncompromisingly and aggressively lists them out. Simz is astonishingly self-aware, understanding every obstacle standing in her way, either personal or institutionally, and refuses to let anything hold her back.
As in the past, Soulection's fingerprints can be seen clearly at various points in the EP, in the form of producers. Sango and Da-P both lend their talents to Simz, who is at ease floating through their sample cluttered ethereal soundscapes. "Mandarin Oranges Part II" is a definite high point on the tape; everything about her rhymes and flow pairs well with the beat, nicely gliding underneath.
If Little Simz continues and expands the lane that she currently finds herself in, the future holds gifts for her. E.D.G.E. is a surprisingly solid solo debut, one that has incredible replay value. You should definitely head down to Simz' soundcloud to hear more of her music and to find her four previous mixtapes. There is a lot to catch up on, start early.
- Age 101 Music
- June 18th, 2014