Grammar pedants note: north London rapper Little Simz absolutely knows what she’s doing. “I see sinners in a church,/ Sometimes I might be introvert,” goes the full line from the title track of her extraordinary fourth album: it scans, and casts Simz as a righteous, big-picture witness.
She really is no wallflower. Heralded by a martial fanfare, Simz’s outgoing, soul-baring record knows how to beat the door down then work the room. Over 19 tracks, the wordsmith born Simbiatu Ajikawo flexes long and hard in the company of can-do-no-wrong producer Inflo (Michael Kiwanuka, Sault), effortlessly throwing out bangers. Many will know the hard-hitting title track, in which she deconstructs black anger and pain, or her female-forward summer tune, Woman. But there are more killer cuts here: Speed finds her brushing dirt off her shoulder over a boxy beat and snaking electronic hook.
All of this grandeur is punctuated by shimmering orchestral interludes, the plummy voice of Emma Corrin (AKA The Crown’s Princess Diana) as Simz’s life coach, and hard-hitting tracks of another kind, where the artist examines her motivations (Ovation) and her relationship with her absent father on the heart-wrenching I Love You, I Hate You.