It’s bold to claim that someone is the best in their field. This claim is especially valid in the rap game, where being called the GOAT is almost an arms race.
Although British-Nigerian rapper Simbiatu Ajikawo or Little Simz is no newcomer to the rap game, she recently became more popular when “Venom” went viral on TikTok. However, it is an injustice that Simz’s other work has not been subject to the same attention.
Unfortunately, the release of her fourth studio album, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, coincided with Drake’s album Certified Lover Boy. Drake’s more significant popularity left Simz ignored. However, Simz’s most recent album might prove her status as one of the best in the genre.
“Sometimes I Might Be Introvert” deals with the subject of Simz’s self-image and her status as an introverted artist. In a field where many rappers’ personal lives are in the public eye, Simz’s introversion is a stark contrast to her peers.
At its core, “Sometimes I Might Be Introvert” examines Simz’s identity as a rapper and a person. It even bleeds into the album’s name, with the abbreviated form of the title shortening down to SIMBI, a nickname used by her friends and family.
In an interview with The Guardian, Simz discussed her struggles with being an introvert and how they influenced the album.
“I’m just very [mean] to myself, and I didn’t know how to really navigate that,” Simz said. “It’s me being this introverted person that has all these crazy thoughts and ideas and theories in my head and not always feeling like I’m able to express it if it is not through my art.”
In contrast to her more concise album “GREY area,” which was only about 35 minutes, “Sometimes I Might be an Introvert” clocks in at around an hour and has 19 tracks.
Despite this, the album never feels particularly bloated. It is an exquisite affair, with an almost symphonic quality of production. Nowhere is this clearer than the pseudo title track “Introvert.”
In contrast to its name, “Introvert’s” production is anything but subtle. The song contrasts brass horns and an ethereal choir with hard-hitting verses about corrupt government officials in Simz’s community.
The line “Simz the artist or Simbi the person” is a thesis statement for the whole album.
Simz keeps up the momentum across the remainder of the album’s runtime. She perfectly weaves introspective bars with incredibly lush neo-soul and jazz-inspired flavors.
Simz highlights her talent for storytelling with the song “Woman.” The strings and choral backup give this song a beautifully dark edge.
The beautiful production contrasts with the dark subjects that permeate the album. “I Love You, I Hate You” is a track that features Simz rapping about the tumultuous relationship between herself and her father. The lyrics and sound of “I Love You, I Hate You” make this song an instant tear-jerker.
Self-introspection makes up a decent portion of the album’s runtime, and “Standing Ovation” sees Simz reflecting upon how far she’s come in a matter of ten years while also shouting out the people who got her to where she is. Backed by an accompanying horn instrumental, “Standing Ovation” is the sonic equivalent of Simz running her victory lap.
“Rollin Stone” is a stylistic return to “GREY area” and sees Simz drop the heavier orchestration for a much grimier production. Lyrically, Simz is flexing about her position over the rest of the competition.
The song works as a contrast to the rest of the album, especially the second half that sees Simz using pitched-up vocals to represent her transition from being Simbi to being Simz the artist. The album’s final song, Miss Understood, sees Simz reflecting on her complicated feelings about her newfound family and numerous family issues.
It is a somber song that examines Simz’s family troubles with her rapping career. As a finale to the album, it works beautifully.
“Sometimes I Might be Introvert” is superb, introspective and heartbreaking in equal parts. Simz has achieved something incredible with this album. Though she may not be as well known, she is easily the GOAT.