Score: 4 out of 5 Grackles

Little Simz — “Drop 6 EP”


Little Simz — “Drop 6 EP”

Record Label: Age 101

Release Date: May 6, 2020

Photo taken at SXSW 2017 by KUTX

She hasn’t scored a breakthrough hit, but 2019’s Grey Area garnered a Mercury prize nomination and pointed the needle skyward for Little Simz (Simbi Ajikawo). Yet this UK rapper and actor now finds herself on pause. Returning to her Drop series of mixtapes, Drop 6 is the sound of an artist in isolation. Home alone, Simz powered through her anxieties (and her neighbor’s complaints about the bass) to craft a spare, industrial sound as akin to Joy Division as her hip-hop contemporaries. There’s little adorning her freestyling verse, just funky, propelled bass lines and hammer on anvil percussion. The pandemic hangs over the material. “Crabs in a barrel, we all in this” she says on “You Should Call Mum”. “Where’s My Lighter” is a lament for a career interrupted. But Simz isn’t navel-gazing. With fierce braggadocio, she’s determined to rise above her situation. She states the theme on the opener, “Might Bang, Might Not”. “I am the force that we speak of / What’s a wave to a tsunami?” “One Life, Might Live” is the EP’s standout, an internal battle against self-doubt, set to an unstoppable groove. “Say you’re born to do this, but you ain’t got what it takes / Damn sure innit, every ting vivid / I got one life and might just live it.”

Review by Jeff McCord