Endorsed by Kendrick Lamar and published on Jay-Z’s Life and Times site, 21-year-old Little Simz has already received more attention than most north London MCs. A Curious Tale concerns itself with the tests faced by a rising rapper: “This is the sort of shit that ain’t ever going to sell,” she says on Gratitude. God Bless Mary, which pays tribute to the neighbour who had to listen to her in her formative moments, includes the line: “I know it don’t mean shit to you if I go global.” It’s clear that Simz wants to put her talents as an MC to some use beyond braggadocio; at some points she is reminiscent of Lauryn Hill, at other times Eminem, or even Drake. All this does make the album seem very self-involved, however – even Mary is more of a device than a character. It’s a debut that leaves a feeling of an artist still working herself out. There’s time yet for that, though.
Paul MacInnes is a reporter for the Guardian