Little Simz is an enigma. Her 2019 breakthrough, Grey Area, received a Mercury nomination, forcing people to sit up and take notice of one of the brightest artists to come out of Britain over the last decade. Sometimes I Might Be Introvert sees Simz raise the stakes as she takes an introspective look in the mirror across the album’s mammoth 19-tracks.
While the length of the record is somewhat daunting, with Simbi driving at the wheel, it never drags, and there’s a captivating flow to the album with every track carefully placed next to one another. Her wily use of interludes provides Introvert with bundles of cadence, and as a listener, you completely lose yourself within her creation.
There are few more tiresome claims about music than the notion that rap lacks a broad range of emotions. Famously, Post Malone got into hot water for stating: “If you’re looking for lyrics, if you’re looking to cry, if you’re looking to think about life, don’t listen to hip-hop.” He later backtracked on his comments, blaming alcohol, and said personally, he’d rather listen to Bob Dylan if he was in a tearful mood. Yet, this is a genuine opinion that many holds, and Sometimes I Might Be Introvert will change that thought process. It’s packed with heartbreaking and soul-stirring energy as she cripples with the duality of her life.
The album begins with the thumping drums of the titular single, Introvert, which gets the theatrical record racing out traps. The track sees Simz wrestle with her success as she contemplates, “I hate the thought of just being a burden, I hate that these conversations are surfaced, Simz the artist or Simbi the person?”. That last line epitomises the whole essence of her fourth album and particularly hones in on the closing double salvo of tracks, ‘How Did You Get Here’ and ‘Miss Understood’. The latter sees Simz drifting from a close friend after finding out the hard way why people are reluctant to mix business and pleasure. On the track, she even admits, “I write words for a living but still can’t communicate”.
Sometimes I Might Be Introvert feels like an evolution for Simbi, who is coming to terms with her status, and realising that despite the adulation, she’s still the same quiet kid who continues to spend most of her time escaping inside of her head. ‘I See You’, meanwhile, features a luscious guitar line that could seduce anybody and shows Simbi’s versatility once more as she flexes her more delicate side. Simbi then takes it one step further on ‘The Rapper That Came To Tea’, a track blessed with a rousing, uplifting speech from a Queen’s English accent, which is followed up by the aggressive ‘Rollin Stone’. It is here that Simz goes hard and proudly says with her chest, “Mummy handled business, Papa was a rollin’ stone, I’m a mix of both, there ain’t no bitch-boy in my bones.”
Two people who deserve tremendous credit for their immense work in creating one of 2021’s musical masterpieces are Rosie Danvers, who worked magic as the strings arranger and producer Inflo. The mysterious latter is the genius behind Sault, and he also worked on Michael Kiwanuka’s imperious Mercury-winning third album. Together, they coax the best out of Little Simz and offer up an extensive spiralling playground that adds an unquantifiable weight of gravitas to Sometimes I Might Be Introvert. Additionally, there’s a different flavour to be devoured on each track. Take the pop-tinged dancefloor-ready, ‘Protect My Energy’, separated just by a short interlude from the Afrobeat anthem, ‘Point and Kill’.
Simbi has a skill set that’s rare to find, she’s as three-dimensional as humanly possible, and nothing should stand in the way from Sometimes I Might Be Introvert being her crowning moment.
Albums of this length usually contain multiple songs there to make up numbers to register more plays on streaming services. On the contrary, Simz makes every track count, and they each come together to create an intricate, nuanced image of the 27-year-old through these subtle snapshots, which cultivate together effervescently.
Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is out on September 3rd through Age 101 Music, in association with AWAL.