Welcome to “New Music with Nick.” On this column, I shall be reviewing a number of the most notable new album releases throughout varied genres, specializing in hip-hop, R&B and pop music. Be part of me in exploring the ever-shifting panorama of the streaming period.
Little Simz: “NO THANK YOU” (December 12, 2022)
Little Simz has been a top-tier rapper for fairly a couple of years, so it’s no shock to see that her newest challenge continues her streak of excellence. There’s no must construct suspense about my opinion: “No Thank You” is improbable.
It’s limiting to say that Simbiatu Ajikawo is among the greatest British rappers or probably the greatest feminine rappers — she’s merely probably the greatest rappers on this planet proper now. I really feel an obligation to remind folks every time I point out Little Simz as a result of, for some cause, this reality isn’t widely known and appreciated.
Her latest launch is a shift in type and sound however not a shift in high quality. A lot of the album presents a extra minimalistic method in comparison with her final couple of albums. On the similar time, it additionally holds a grand, cinematic really feel. The transitions, construction and sonic ambiance lend to the sensation of watching a film of Simz’ life play out — a sense she is someway persistently capable of seize.
There’s no weak level within the tracklist. Each a part of it portrays varied feelings in a refreshing method, all whereas sustaining an exquisite cohesiveness. Songs like “Sideways,” “Angel,” “Damaged” and “Management” present a splendidly soulful perspective and a extra stripped-back sonic nature. Tracks like “X” and “Silhouette” set up the aforementioned cinematic really feel and construct the album’s depth with their impressed performances. “Gorilla” and “No Merci” focus on vital matters however with a extra lighthearted and energetic method, giving the album aid from the darker and extra mellow tracks. From entrance to again, the album performs so easily and builds so marvelously that it solely will get higher with each hear.
Little Simz has at all times been a really emotional and genuine rapper, however she really takes it to a different degree right here. Her messaging is deeply private, but it surely’s completed with an magnificence and precision that makes it really feel universally relatable. Simz tells of trials and tribulations within the music business and in her private life with clever writing that’s within the higher echelon of your complete style. Regardless of the successes and glory that the previous few years have delivered to her, there may be additionally a large amount of battle that she has been coping with which emerges right here. It may generally be onerous to convey these matters with out sounding too cliché, however Simz navigates them with easy ease.
Producer Inflo deserves his personal reward; his contribution to the album’s excellence cannot be overstated. His present run as a producer is exceptional, being Little Simz’ main collaborator over the past 4 years. I imagine that he’s some of the modern and vital figures in hip-hop proper now, however he will get completely nowhere close to the respect and acclaim that he deserves. Persistently crafting world-class instrumentals for Little Simz, Inflo has proven a degree of creativity and inventive excellence that plenty of hip-hop (particularly the mainstream) may actually profit from learning. His manufacturing type with various devices, eclectic samples and refreshing constructions enhances Little Simz’ rapping completely.
Among the many duo’s creations are 2019’s “Gray Space” and 2021’s “Generally I Would possibly Be Introvert” (“SIMBI”), which had been a number of the greatest albums to come back out of their respective years and a number of the greatest fashionable hip-hop albums total (with “SIMBI” frankly being one of many best hip-hop albums of all time). Though “No Thank You” lacks the grandiose universe that “SIMBI” painted and the sharpness and pleasure of “Gray Space,” it nonetheless captures the entire parts that make Little Simz a world-class artist.
This album represents her essential continued private improvement as an rising hip-hop legend. All of her frustrations with the music business are expressed with inventive excellence. There is no such thing as a weak a part of the album in any side. “No Thank You” delivers one other spectacular, genuine work that serves as a reminder of Little Simz’s legendary expertise.
Favourite Songs: “Damaged,” “X,” “Gorilla,” “Sideways,” “Silhouette,” “Management,” “Coronary heart on Fireplace,” “No Merci,” “Angel,” “Who Even Cares”
Album Rating: 92/100
Take a look at this Spotify Playlist and prefer it to take a look at a few of my favourite songs of 2022.
Editor’s Be aware: This text is a evaluation and contains subjective opinions, ideas and critiques.