’23 Splendour Spotlight: Little Simz

Simbiatu Abisola Abiola Ajikawo’s authenticity and hypnotic delivery makes her a must-see artist at SITG ’23

As the countdown to Little Simz’s arrival on Australian shores continues – let’s dive into her background and music journey. 

Having released music for over 10 years, Little Simz doesn’t boast a story that was propelled by overnight success. Her story is – as cliche as it sounds – truly a product of blood, sweat and tears.

She started her rap career with a series of mixtapes and, finally, a debut album A Curious Tale of Trials and Persons in 2015, which received cosigns from Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar and more. Her second album, Stillness In Wonderland (2016) had her rubbing shoulders with the likes of Syd, SiR and BADBADNOTGOOD which continued her establishment as a recognised artist in the hip hop scene. 

The release of Grey Area in 2019 saw Simz begin to hone and refine her sound more. This album was home to one of her most popular songs, ‘Venom’, which had a resurgence on TikTok a few years after. I personally found out about her around this time, because this release coincided with her first appearance on the Netflix show ‘Top Boy’. Her performance in this show was so authentic; with a presence that was incredibly commanding – which encouraged me to find out more about her.

It was her COLORS show performance, however, that really gave me the push I needed to become an avid listener. Her delivery in this video is almost hypnotising. It stops you dead your tracks and makes it hard to even turn the video off. 

Little Simz – ‘Backseat’ on COLORS (2018)
Little Simz – ‘Venom’ on COLORS (2019)

This is the appeal of Little Simz. Her authenticity, her evident commitment to the craft, and her ability to simply stand and affect people through her words. 

Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’ (2021) – the fourth album in Simz discography – seems to echo with a newfound confidence in who she truly is as an artist. She dances over beats that experiment with genres like Jazz, Funk, Grime and Afrobeat, and chart themes such as feminism, systemic racism, introversion, to represent who she truly is: Simbiatu Abisola Abiola Ajikawo. Or SIMBI for short.

So now, with a BRIT award, countless nominations and co-signs from some of the greatest hip hop icons, Little Simz continues to push the boundaries – stepping into the Grass to showcase how Splendid she truly is. And personally, I think she’s definitely one to watch.

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