Little Simz’ third LP ‘Grey Area’ is one of my favourite releases of the year so far and after her set at the Corner last Sunday, this notion is even more cemented. Kicking off with ‘Boss’ the 25 year old burst onto the stage megaphone in hand, with the crowd vibing massively and the singalongs being that deafening that you could see the surprise on Simz’ face, who seemed really amazed that she was performing to a sold out crowd, the other side of the world on a Sunday night.
“I go by Little Simz for those who don’t know,” smiled Simbiatu ‘Simbi’ Abisola Abiola Ajikawo before kicking into ‘Therapy,’ which made it seem as if the crowd knew the words as well as Simz herself. With it’s groovy bassline providing a hazy dance track for the crowd with Simz’ witty lyricism still reigning dominant, lines such as, “Sometimes we do not see the fuckery until we’re out of it/Some people read The Alchemist and still never amount to shit,” highlighted her old school style reminiscent of Lauryn Hill who also relied on intelligence over controversy or brutality for most of her social criticisms.
With her set being comprised of raw instruments such as bass and percussion and lacking a backing track (a tool a lot of rappers rely on) Little Simz’ reaffirmed song after song while she is at the top of the rap game. With lyrics such as “Fuck those who don’t believe/They would never wanna admit I’m the best here/From the mere fact that I’ve got ovaries,” it’s no surprise that Simz has found herself spearheading England’s current female rap movement, but I feel as if her ability transcends more than just being a pivotal female rapper. I think instead she is leaps and bounds ahead of the current rap game regardless of gender.
‘God Bless Mary’ gave fans a taste of something older with Simz’ taking the time to dedicate the song it’s subject matter, Mary, her elderly neighbour while she was growing up, who never called the cops to shut down the parties that Simz was honing her craft mixing tracks at, “Without her, I wouldn’t be standing here in Melbourne right now.”
‘Pressure’ was a standout with its acapella-esque intro and outro being extended to truly allow Simz to highlight her lyrical ability. But that isn’t the only talent she possesses, with her donning guitars, basses and bongos throughout the set to add a little bit more spice to a few tracks.
‘Flowers’ closed the set with it’s ambient melodic approach being truly enigmatic in a live setting. ‘Offence’ scored the encore and was without a doubt the crowd favourite with it’s ballsy chorus being chanted throughout the room.
I feel like I speak for everyone who was in attendance when I say the only criticism I had was that I wish she just kept playing. I truly can’t wait until she hits our shores again.
When: Sunday July 21
Where: Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Reviewed by Alex Callan