If you've read any music media in the past week, chances are you've come across somebody declaring Little Simz's Sometimes I Might Be Introvert one of the albums of the year. It's true too. The fourth album from the British MC is a powerful exploration of family, patience, confidence, and grace. It's an expertly pieced-together project that ushers us into her world more than ever before and places her as one of the best MCs around right now.
Part of what makes it so excellent is her pen which has only gotten stronger since she began.
"I bottle up and then spill it in verses / One day, I'm wordless, next day, I'm a wordsmith" - Introvert
This whole album is a wrestle between Simz as a rapper and Simz as a person. She's very open about her own personal struggles with anxiety and Introvert spells them out. This line captures it really beautifully as it juxtaposes her inability to make sense of her inner turmoil with how she's able to weave it into song. Introvert is a powerful, grandiose opener to the album, one that sees her step back into her role as a rapper with confidence and fearlessness.
"Innovatin' just like Donna Summer in the '80s." - Woman
You can tell throughout this record that Simz is a true fan of music. She studies it tirelessly. Here, she playfully drops the queen of disco Donna Summer. Woman is a dedication to women all around the world and this is a tribute to Summer who pioneered the disco scene when it was a predominantly male game. She came to prominence in the '70s but she really started to explore the capabilities of the sound in the '80s.
"We was on the frontline listen' to Kendrick Lamar" - Two Worlds Apart
This is a tip to Lamar's song Alright which has become an anthem for the Black Lives Matter movement all around the world. Simz is an involved activist and it shines through in her music. Two Worlds Apart taps into the confidence of Alright, claiming the mic and laying down some of the most fire bars on the album. Lamar has already given Simz his nod of approval too. "Little Simz, she might be the illest doing it right now," he told Radio 1.
"My ego won't fully allow me to say I miss you / A woman who hasn't confronted all her Daddy issues" - I Love You, I Hate You
At its most vulnerable, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert unpacks Simz's family trauma. No song goes as deep on the matter as I Love You, I Hate You which holds nothing back, documenting her story with her father. Simz doesn't really know her father and here she wrestles with wanting to embrace her biological father and also her anger at him for never being around.
“Is you a sperm donor or a dad to me?” - I Love You, I Hate You
Those same notions continue here as she ponders what her Dad really was to her. When her producer played her the beat she avoided it at first because she knew that the sample of "I love you, I hate you," meant that she really had no choice but to address the situation with her Father. Eventually, she went there and we're glad she did because this is one of the most potent moments on the record.
"Still running with ease, marathon, not sprint" - Speed
Simz has been doing this for a while now, gaining more and more respect with each of her four albums. She's reminding herself here that it's okay to take your time. She arrives at her fourth record with the most respect of her career. Critics are raving about Sometimes I Be Introvert and the fans continue to multiply.
"I think I need a standing ovation / Over ten 10 years in the game, I've been patient" - Standing Ovation
Standing Ovation carries similar themes to Speed. Not only does she acknowledge here that she has earnt her dues, she also gives a shoutout to all the workers who aren't in careers that garner an audible applause like hers. She shouts out priests, protesters, divine healers, and more. On Genius, she explained, "If you go to a toilet and it’s dirty, people go in from 9 to 5 and make sure that shit is spotless for you, so let’s also say thank you."
"Storms ain't lyin man, these fools are audacious" - Rolling Stone
Little Simz fires off another musical reference here, this time shouting out Stormzy's Audacity off his second album Heavy Is The Head. Stormzy shouted out Simz on his track Superheroes and this reply seems to be a show of solidarity between the two rappers. Two of the best lyricists in the game, trading references. You love to see it.
"Put my mom on the cover of GQ / You can't relate 'cause that's somethin' that G's do" - Fear No Man
Fear No Man is a celebration of how Simz has navigated her career without being afraid of anyone or following the status quo. Included in this is the creative decisions she's made, including shooting her Mum for a 2020 GQ cover that celebrated Blackness. The importance of family and community is at the heart of this record and a move like this proves that exactly.
— Little Simz (@LittleSimz) November 11, 2020
"I'm the version of me I always imagined when I was younger / All the albums I studied, learned about flow and cadence" - How Did You Get Here
It's clear the Simz is a student. She doesn't just casually listen to music, she studies everything she hears which is why this album is such a versatile and skilled listen. Here, she throws it back to listening to records when she was younger, no doubt dreaming of what she could actually here. Now she is here and How Did You Get Here feels like a particularly sweet victory lap.