Music in Review: “Sometimes I Might be Introvert”

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The Winonan’s music reviewer rate “Sometimes I Might be Introvert” 4.5/5 stars

Matthew Drewry, features editor

British-Nigerian rapper Little Simz, real name Simbiatu Abisola Abiola Ajikawo, first caught my ear with her 2019 album “Grey Area.” Demonstrating an incredible lyrical and rhythmic talent balanced with a nuanced emotional depth rarely heard in the hip hop genre, the 35- minute album ended up on many top end-of-year lists, including mine, catapulting Simz from UK renown to international fame.
It is in the wake of this ascendancy we hear her first full length effort “Sometimes I Might Be Introvert.” Titled as an acronym of Simz’ nickname, Simbi, “Introvert” debuted at #4 on the UK charts. It seems Little Simz is at least commercially, no longer so little. This effect is in full prominence all over “Sometimes I Might be Introvert”, with an evident increase in budget and overall polish on the album even visible in the album art.
The structural differences between “Introvert” and “Grey Area” are obvious from the outset. The opening track “Introvert” is filled with grandiose brass and orchestral instrumentation, lush choral passages and harp arpeggios followed by Simz sounding almost like a hip hop James Bond. In comparison, the opening track of “Grey Area” sounds like a radio transmission from an underground outpost with some added flourishes of strings.
It is the high-gloss production that sets apart the two, but Simz sounds equally adept and hungry on both. She follows the introduction with “Woman”, a track describing her admiration of women of various cultures in her life in a sentiment reminiscent of “Complexion” from Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly.” The two albums are inexplicably linked both stylistically and lyrically.
The sonic palette of this album is diverse and explores nearly every available sonic iteration of Black music, with Simz never sounding out of depth as she moves from neo-soul, to jazz rap, to funk, even featuring some cuts with tribal drums or bordering on hardcore rap and trap registers in others.
Inflo’s production all over this album is fantastic, detailed and nuanced and beautifully mixed. Especially beautiful is the combination of strings and a children’s choir on “Little Q Pt. 2”. The beautiful variety of beats really displays Simz’s proficiency over a variety of styles both from a technical standard of writing and delivery.
The entire album is a terse and beautiful meditation filled with themes of femininity, self acceptance and love, deep introspection, as well as Simz’s grappling with discrimination, heartbreak, her newfound fame and her relationship with her father. There are even some subtle Christian themes on a few tracks.
One of the only stylistic critiques I could make of this lyrical approach is it is fairly self-centered and subjective. The album is much like a diary in that sense, for better or for worse.
My one structural qualm of this album is the multitude of interludes, and while they aren’t obnoxious, they simply are not songs. Especially in comparison to the extremely concise and no-frills “Grey Area”, I’m not exactly pleased to see 5 interludes in a track listing. I do see how they connect with the greater theme, and feature a very storybook stylization and beautiful musicality. So while they’re not outright bad, I personally tend to think interludes simply don’t hold up to long term listening.
These qualms aside, “Introvert” is just about everything I could have wanted from Simz’s first full-length release, if not more. I think the depth of this album will continue to unravel itself and this will prove to be classic in it’s own right in due time. I rate this album 4.5/5 stars and expect it to be on many end of the year lists, including mine.