Published May 28, 2015From the outside looking in, things seem to be going exceedingly well for Little Simz, aka Simbi Ajikawo. The 21 year-old North London-based MC and label head is picking up accolades left, right and centre from the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Mos Def for her versatile and undeniable skills on the mic.
However, all is not quite as it seems on the latest seven-track "drop" from Little Simz. She's been applying that title to the intermittent batches of tracks she's been dispensing for several months now, but this belies their overall excellence and thematic unity, and Age 101: Drop 4 is no different in this regard. Lyrically, Little Simz' addresses her sudden rise to prominence and how she is managing to deal with the increased attention and notoriety her career has given her against the comparative normality of her previous life. Recent single "Is This Freedom?," co-produced by Toronto's Prezident Jeff, touches on all the themes explored on the EP and rightfully kicks off the proceedings. "Sit Tight" details the loneliness of being surrounded by new people, "Heart Said" is dedicated to the long distance relationship that has been impacted by her success and, on "Mist"(co-produced by another Toronto beatmaker, Frank Dukes), she writes letters to both her MC persona and her offstage self.
Despite the internal wrangling Little Simz reveals here, you never feel like she's in danger of losing control, and her rapid-fire and technically sound flow only accentuate this fact. Proof of her levelheadedness comes on "Don't Ruin It," as she continually ups the lyrical ante until she queries "How many times have I been on a plane?"
Keen to redress her playful boasts, Little Simz laughs to herself as the beat abruptly stops: "Uh, slow down," she says sheepishly. Doesn't look like her career will be doing that any time soon. (Independent)