This Tuesday, British rapper Little Simz won the 2022 Mercury Prize Award with Sometimes I Might Be An Introvert for ‘Album of the Year.’
There’s always been talk of how emphatic an album release can really be. A debut album expanding a sub-genre, even a conceptual album redefining art as we know it. But there’s never been a Sometimes I Might Be An Introvert.
Hailed as an instant classic cementing itself with its war-paint exterior and it’s empowering message to women in our culture, it rocketed Little Simz (real name Simbaiatu Ajikawo) from cult hero to international superstar overnight.
The pedigree of an album was not only confirmed with music fanatics, reviewers and influencers but the industries’ most important critics of them all – the judging panel for the Mercury Prize Award.
After the initial ceremony was delayed, Little Simz took home the crown in emphatic fashion last night earning both the coveted Album of the Year statement – aswell as earning £25,000 in prize money.
Laced in an amalgamation of what it takes to be a black woman “and a proud one at that,” Sometimes I Might Be An Introvert is a seemless musical gem as it traverses from compressed vintage funk and silky soul…back to grime, rap and intoxicating R&B…all made up in a package of 19 confessional poetry that sets her apart as a real storyteller.
<< SIMBAI succeeds the Mercury prize-nominated Grey Area in 2019 and the five-track EP, Drop 6. >>
From the soul-dosed glowings of Woman and Point and Kill to the refreshing interludes that connects the story chapters falling onto the innovative word play on Two Worlds Apart and Miss Understood that draws the vocality to a close, is it any wonder that the album took one of the coveted prizes of the industry?
Simply what the album stands for is enough for a nomination. How it’s presented and delivered in such an organic and enriching way, ultimately swamping all other contenders in the list.
Traditionally, Mercury Prize winners are always those albums against the grain, small but mighty honourable mentions that are often always overlooked by the mainstream – which is possibly why the likes of Harry Styles and Wet Leg missed out on the award.
For every Harry Styles, there’s only one Little Simz. The same goes for Wet Leg. At its bones, Wet Leg’s debut – despite commercially successful – is your typical catchy indie weekender that is nothing out of the ordinary. Little Simz’s SIMBAI is an album so deeply coveted, dripped in food-for-thought that it makes you stop in your tracks and just listen.
A judging panel of music stiffs, the Mercury Prize is the magic crossover between music and art, and Little Simz perfects this exceedingly well.
Where the album is grandiose and powerful, it’s potent with anxiety, as it spills out through voice: “I bottle up and then spill it in verses / One day, I’m wordless, next day, I’m a wordsmith.” Where anxiety spools over – so does societal issues surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement. A tip to Lamar’s Alright as the BLM anthem, “we was on the frontline listenin’ to Kendrick Lamar,” to Simbi’s explosive family trauma with her father, “my ego won’t fully allow me to say I miss you / A woman who hasn’t confronted all her Daddy issues.”
At its most vulnerable, SIMBAI is an expressive life token of creature comforts and favourite worst nightmares.
“This accomplished and complex yet entirely accessible album is the work of someone striving constantly to push herself. It deals with themes both personal and political while putting them against music that is as sophisticated as it is varied. The Mercury Prize is all about shining a light on albums of lasting value and real artistry. ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’ has both.“Direct quote from the judging panel
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