Little Simz dares to question her longevity on Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
On her third album, 2019's Grey Area, British rapper Little Simz endured the uncertainty of her mid-20s. A "mid-life crisis" concept was a novel idea for a 24-year-old, and she fearlessly faced the challenge. On its follow-up, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, Simz, now 27, once again showcases her vulnerability and ability to face risks, opening up old wounds from relationships with her father, a past lover, and, ultimately, herself.
The wide-ranging Introvert is pieced together through interludes and spoken word — a greater extension of the UK talent's sophomore effort Stillness In Wonderland. Back then, she was churning out big ideas only to be met by her own lack of assuredness in regards to how to fully express them. On Introvert, she dares question her longevity and the concept of fame with an Instagram caption-ready mantra: "Do you want 15 years or 15 minutes? Do not tire yourself out."
Across 19 tracks, the artist born Simbi Ajikawo is confrontational yet calculated. When she raises her voice on the powerful "I Love You I Hate You," she coldly admits to strife with her dad while glancing at old Polaroid pictures. "Never thought my parent would give me my first heartbreak/Anxiety giving me irregular heart rate," she raps. It's less a wholly dismissive shot at her estranged father than her pulling away at the emotions weighing her down. Later, she finds richness in elegant guitars and odes to decades past, as well as proud boasts of being capable of failure yet appreciative of taking steps into the unknown. "Standing Ovation" utilizes triumphant horns to convey the message of being gifted and blessed, as she recounts her rise as a musician and actress; "Point and Kill," featuring Nigerian artist Obongjayar, rolls through guitar licks as Simz vows that nothing will stop her; and "Woman," a swirling ode to Black women of all shades of the diaspora, celebrates perseverance and success, with rising singer Cleo Sol contributing a feathery chorus that matches the rapper at every turn.
On the back half of Introvert, Simz explores how far her ideas can stretch. "Protect My Energy" riffs on '80s pop synths and explores isolation as a near-superpower: "Total silence is my therapy, I don't need your sympathy … I got problems, but I'm not weak." The gospel choir that stamps the penultimate "How Did We Get Here" underlines the main ethos of Introvert: Even in our awkwardness, our Blackness, and our vulnerability, we achieved. The song's section section turns from a first-person reflection of childhood dreams becoming reality to speaking to a world occasionally shrouded by doubt and fear: "Tell your kids to play this."
Ultimately, Introvert sees a champion in its lead character: a Black woman proud of the steps she's taken while simultaneously analyzing how stardom can force her to check inward. "I really wanted it to work, and God is my witness," she raps on "Miss Understood." Standing in her truth, rocky as it may be, has given Little Simz power — one she feels comfortable sharing with the world. B