Music fans are always eager to hear something new, I know I always am. Like many others, I couldn’t help but be excited for Kanye to drop Donda and hear how it compared to Drake’s anticipated Certified Lover Boy… especially amidst the beef the two were having. I listened to Donda on day one and enjoyed it overall, but it was far from my favorite Kanye project. I waited to listen to Drake’s album because I was dreading it (which felt justified after I checked it out). Although there was an apparent winner to me in the Kanye-Drake beef, I did not feel like it mattered. There was not a truly special project produced during the conflict. After my initial disappointment, I scavenged Spotify to fill the hole I was left with. not only was said pit quickly refilled, but it eventually overflowed into a mountain. Turns out not only did Drake fail to drop an album better than Kanye, but he didn’t even drop the best album of the day. On September 3, 2021, British-Nigerian rapper Little Simz dropped Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, which is my current choice for AOTY.
Even without previous exposure to Little Simz (something I regret), she captivated me within seconds of her newest project. Once the orchestral horns pierced my ears during the opening track “Introvert”, she grabbed my attention and left me mesmerized. The hypnosis only grew as Simz began her verse — it was as if her voice was created for the song. Her flow throughout the song (and album altogether) is excellent. She attacks cinematic beats in a way to encapsulate the passion she has for her subject matters. She never shies away from discussing personal issues or injustices, and this is especially heard in the opening track.
Following the otherworldly experience of “Introvert”, Simz calms down on the smoother track “Woman.” Here, she focuses on celebrating her female idols. Simz glides along with the chill keyboard-driven beat while Cleo Sol provides the song’s exceptional chorus. Although the two tracks have vastly different sounds, the jump between songs did not feel out of place. This is a compliment I will extend throughout the album.
“Two Worlds” thrives from its excellent production sampling Smokey Robinson’s “The Agony and the Ecstasy” and more unique flow from Simz. She grows more aggressive as the track continues, which lends itself well to the song’s shorter run time and the more relaxing tone of the track.
“I Love You, I Hate You” is my favorite track from the album. The song continues the orchestral focus from “Introvert” (albeit not as grand in scale). It adds a groovy bassline and has arguably the greatest production on the album. As “I love you, I hate you” repeats throughout the song, I believed the phrase was sampled, but it was not. The production alone would have made this song excel but Simz is relentless on the track. She raps about her impact (or feared lack thereof) on the world. In this way, the production represents her question: does she love or despise herself? Her pauseless flow and raising voice prove her care for the topic. I find it easy to grow intrigued by one’s passions.
The first interlude “Little Q, Pt. 1” is up next. The interludes for this project (“Gems,” “The Rapper That Came to Tea,” “Never Make Promises,” and “The Garden”) are pleasant breaks between tracks. In general, I find skits and interludes unnecessary on most albums, but they lend themselves well here. However, they could be removed, and the final product would not become any worse.
“Little Q, Pt. 2” is driven by a child sung chorus, which provides an interesting contrast to Simz rapping about the struggles of her childhood. It allows the listener to understand her innocence as a child… and how she is willing to discuss how her life was not constantly sunshine and rainbows. The calming piano and drums allow the tune to be the most relaxing on the album.
After the “Gems” interlude, “Speed” begins, a track that would have felt straight at home in her GREY Matter album. The song ignores the concert sound of Introvert in favor of the more electronic sound of her previous album. This track allows Simz’s mic ability to shine as she rides the minimalistic beat, deciding to talk about how amazing she is. This provides an entertaining break from the tougher themes of the project.
Although “Speed” goes a different direction than the album so far, it flows well into “Standing Ovation” which returns to the album’s grand sound. Horns blare on this hopeful track as Simz raps about how people are able to become leaders and how she has grown to realize she is one. The production fits especially well for this song as it gives feelings of royalty. It illustrates Simz as a queen of sorts, aiding in her depiction as a leader.
“I See You” is another blissful track featuring Cleo Sol’s lovely voice on the chorus and production carried by acoustic guitar and a distorted (yet pleasing) vocal snippet. The underlying bassline is nothing short of infectious. The song is a celebration of love, with Simz and Sol singing about the beauty of a relationship and its future.
“Rollin Stone” reminds the listener of Simz’s ability to change her style on a whim (which in this case is a major compliment). The song has a similar sound to “Speed;” yet, this track begins with a complex instrumental but grows to comparative minimalism. Simz once again allows us to focus on her voice as she raps for nearly the entire three-and-a-half-minute runtime. She changes her flow along with the beat, always making sure listeners don’t grow too accustomed (or bored) to a singular sound. Simz’s showcase of her lyrical ability makes this track a highlight of the project.
“Protect My Energy” is the most pop-influenced song on the album, only having one short verse and a strong reliance on a repeating chorus. The track gives off Gorillaz vibes (in a great way) and provides a quick, funky, and catchy track. This song describes Simz’s strength and ability to overcome struggles by herself.
The “Never Make Promises-Interlude” leads into another album high-point, “Point and Kill.” Featuring bare-bones production — one of the grooviest bass lines I’ve ever heard and yet another captivating chorus (this one provided by Obongjayar) — it’s impossible not to immediately fall in love. Simz raps about empowerment and social justice with her verses, showing love for her own culture and background.
“Fear No Man” replaces an unforgettable bass riff with production. It uses dance-inspiring drums with help from a simple yet catchy key riff. The beat itself is another celebration of culture, enforcing themes Simz pushes throughout the project. The ideas of overcoming the fear that she raps about also reiterate the ideas present on the project.
“The Garden-Interlude” guides the listener into the piano-driven “How Did You Get Here,” a reflective track about Simz’s life. As she raps about her love of music and her desire and successes in accomplishing her dreams, soft drums and a delightful choir join the piano. Simz conveys how she is still in disbelief at achieving what her younger self would have never expected, and her determination to continue impressing herself while growing as a role model for others. The song is simply beautiful in its sound and introspective.
The album ends with “Miss Understood”, a minimalist track with a simple looping piano and drum rhythm. Despite its simplicity, the song has a similar delightfulness to the previous track. The chorus is sure to connect with those who feel as if they are misunderstood themselves. The song wraps up the themes of the album, saying that despite feeling alone, people should be unafraid of how other people view them or their futures. “Miss Understood” begs listeners to accomplish what they want despite being introverted. I could not see this album ending any other way.
Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is a powerful album. This album will no doubt speak to women, minorities, loners, and generally anyone who has ever experienced any struggle in their life. Simz masterfully combines her voice with fantastic production. She did not only create a socially relevant album but an entertaining one. This is a must-listen for not just hip-hop fans, but for music lovers in general. Little Simz created something truly special, leaving me ecstatic about what she will do next.