Every year I aim to find fresh artists, new releases and so far just a measly thirteen records. Despite me failing to get in a discovery groove, it has yielded some fantastic albums. The Goat, Woodland Rites, Empath & Kill The Sun, all contenders for top lists. Now to throw in another contender in the mix, Grey Area blew me away with just the first listen alone. My ritualistic listening has since convinced me Little Simz is a talent to behold and this is my first encounter. Its her third full length and she certainly sounds experienced on the mic. With a light, firm and steady flow, soft, flat toned voicing and sparkling lyrical creativity, I am reminded of one the greats, Rakim, in a roundabout way. Simz style stands on its own, a plain faced, spoken word calmness with an urban London charm ready to slip into slick rhyming grooves and swift flows as your lured in by her calmness. Its gorgeous and has some of the best rhymes Ive heard in sometime! "I'm a boss in a fudging dress!"
Her technical proficiency wont take long to perk your ears but whats equally earnest and engrossing is the topicality and self reflection. With her words she locks you in to situations, trains of thoughts and introspection with a vivid intensity that manifests in witty, expressive and cultural claps of rhyme that rock and rattle when she gets into a flow. She comes across as a genuine character with sincerity and authenticity in abundance. Some of these songs open a door into her life as an artist, struggling and working hard to succeed while dealing with life's stresses. Its not on an every track basis but just about each song has a pull. A little braggadocio and chest pumping comes into play on the albums slickest song Venom. Its on the flip side and her boisterous style is marvelous, flows swell with sharp, smart and damn right mean lyricism, its venomous. Ok that pun was just plain awful! XD
You'd be no fool to see how talented she is but behind the words, these instrumentals pulled together are fresh, fun, classy and right on point for setting the tone. It kicks of from Offense with an Indie feeling executed with a Jazz Rock flair. The beats are stripped back, the instruments have a live feel, high fidelity and its not until the third song that a more traditional Jazz Hop vibe. Its peaked with beautiful singing from Cleo Sol. The production is utterly sweet, Grey Area is a short, compact and tight record that churns through its ten tracks with a variety of defined vibes that all sound purposeful. The chemistry is fire, I still jet through its thirty five minutes feeling flabbergasted. This is a example case of quality over quantity. There isn't a moment wasted on this superb record, I'm still engrossed within it but had to write!
Favorite Tracks: Boss, Selfish, Venom, Therapy