Exclusive Album Review Of Little Simz: No Thank You
Despite the pressure of following up her previous critically acclaimed album “S.I.M.B.I”, Simz proves that you can catch lightning in a bottle twice with her latest project, No Thank You.
Although Little Simz has always been an exciting name in the UK Rap scene, the world, myself included to be honest, didn’t fully realise the extent of her talent until her fourth album, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert (abbreviated by fans as SIMBI). Simz’ jazz inspired production and nostalgic 2000’s aura, not only shone a light on herself but on the rest of the UK’s underrated artists.
The young London rapper went on to win a Brit Award, A MOBO Award, and a Mercury Prize, defining herself as one of the UK’s best musical talents and one of, if not “the” best female rapper in the industry right now. Now in 2022, it seems like Simz left herself with no other choice than to produce another magnum opus, and with No Thank You, she’s done exactly that.
Despite the album being deeply centered on Simz’ insecurities and anxiety, she’s as confident and as sharp as she was on SIMBI. Her lyrics are so intricately penned and relatable that you often forget that she’s rhyming. Simz articulates the worries of her career and her newly found international fame with a great range on this album. She often switches from inspiring maturity to relatable vulnerability all in the same song and still makes it sound like a banger and not a TED talk.
On a deeper look at her lyrics, Simz tackles some incredibly difficult personal topics, one of which being the death of her longtime friend, Harry Uzoka. “Harry listenin’ from Heaven on repeat. He was backin’ it when nobody believed”, she sings on Angel. She also expresses her defiance and disdain for how the music industry is running, saying: “I refuse to be on a slave ship. Give me my masters and lower your wages.”. Considering the awards, she’s won and the acclaim she’s received, it would be easy for Simz to take her money and say nothing, however, her strength of character remains unshakeable and even makes the album better.
In terms of beat selection, this album also flourishes greatly in its production. Whereas SIMBI has a more laid-back, mellow ambiance, No Thank You’s highs are often found in songs like Broken, Heart On Fire, and Silhouette, where ensembles of gospel choirs and orchestras lift Simz’ artistry to even greater heights. A standout moment for me was the sudden beat switch on No Merci, Simz channels the styles of Lauryn Hill and Common in both her nostalgic beat selection and incredible rapping ability. For me, it wins the best song of the album.
No Thank You closes just as well as it starts, and everything in between is purely unskippable. On first listen this album had already planted itself in my “Albums of the Year” list and after a few more listens, it will have probably cemented itself into my top 5. It’s safe to say Simz has struck gold again, but let’s be honest, was there any doubt?
Score/Excellent: Despite what her album title may suggest, we should definitely be thanking Simz for such a great piece of work. How Simz has managed to create such a cohesive, inspiring project in a mere year’s span is almost as amazing as the album itself. Thought-provoking, intelligent, and important, Little Simz is excellent.
[I rank albums on a scale of: Poor, Mediocre, Good, Excellent, and Outstanding.]
Written By Jake Campbell