Published Sep 25, 2015UK MC Little Simz has released a slew of free music via stellar mixtapes like Blank Canvas, E.D.G.E. and her Age 101 series in collaboration with her talented Space Age crew. Now, the 21-year-old North Londoner is releasing her debut album, A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons, on her own label. Her nimble wordplay is sure to garner even more attention than she's already received from Kendrick Lamar and Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) along the way.
The album finds the MC born Simbi Ajikawo primarily in a conceptual and introspective mode, flexing her well-honed skills over organic production and melodic instrumentation. "I wanna try new things," says Little Simz. "If you want to hear me going on for three minutes [without a chorus], look at my freestyles. I don't need to put it on my record to prove that I can rap. Now I need to show you I can write songs and tell stories that have got more depth."
Her growing notoriety is a recurring topic on A Curious Tale. "This album basically discusses one thing — fame — and what that can do to a person," she says. "Maybe it doesn't change that person as much as the people around them. And just me knowing that my life is heading in that direction and how do I feel about it. Am I excited? Am I nervous? Am I fearful? There are many different thoughts going through my head and I'm just relaying them to myself and figuring it out as I go along."
Consequently, refrains like "How do these lights make you feel?" from A Curious Tale's "The Lights" take on added meaning, as Little Simz, who recently performed at London's prestigious Royal Albert Hall, weighs her dilemmas. On "Tainted," she rhymes from the materialistic perspective of "the person I never want to become." "Dead Body" (co-produced by Toronto's Prezident Jeff) incorporates the perspective of being homeless.
"There are people that don't have food, but I'm concerned about the new trainers that I want to get," she offers. "There are more important things to life."
One of A Curious Tale's best tracks is "God Bless Mary," a "late" apology dedicated to her next door neighbour, who has been putting up with noise emanating from her bedroom ever since the MC began making her mixtapes as a 15-year-old. It might seem like a small concern, but not to Little Simz. "Some people definitely wouldn't care," she says. "But I do."