Little Simz 'Stillness in Wonderland' review

The second full length effort from the London rapper is a world wise trip down the rabbit hole, where a feast of beats lay the foundations for brilliantly insightful bars.

Henry Lewis

Date published: 16th Dec 2016

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Little Simz has always defied her age. At just 11 years old she was dropping bars at Islington Academy; by 15 she was cast as Vicky in CBBC adventure series Spirit Warriors, and at 19 she was receiving MOBO nominations.

Simz simply does not mess about; she is wise beyond her years and shies away from no subject matter through a fearless flurry of bars and beats. 

At 22 she has released her second studio album, Stillness In The Wonderland, a hip hop sound-tracked journey through the perils and trickery of her beloved London and the music business too.


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Like Loyle Carner, for example, her brand of hip hop is honest and engaging - that's not to say postcode bravado isn't hugely enjoyable - but there is a refreshing quality to Simz' music.

Hooking up with reggae vocalist Chronixx for opening track 'LMPD'  introduces the album with humility and his refrain of "never let my people down" sets up deeply insightful verses from both artists. 

The woman known as Simbi Ajikawo lets her guard down most notably in 'Doorways + Trust Issues' where she questions "am I insecure now, speaking 'bout my thoughts now? shit I know I got trust issues, it's hard to ignore now".

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The barrage of bars in 'Picture Perfect' contrasts the more serene moments of the album, 'Zone 3' for example, and demonstrates the fast flow that makes Simz truly captivating. Vocally she is seemingly unbeatable. Whether it's lyric after lyric being packed into one bar or a smooth story telling like verse, Simz can do it. She is never, ever off the beat. 

True to hip hop conventions, the mid song skits help the listener to journey on through the record. Here it is 'Cheshire's Interludes' that guide Simz through wonderland and beyond. By the end, the facade is over - Simz opening with "I don't wanna be in this wonderland no more" before divulging her thoughts through the lyrics "keep it true, no time for false, keep it living, keep the pulse".

Her maturity defies her years and the awareness she has of her surroundings is incredible. This release came via her own label, AGE 101 Music and she is certainly savvy of the deception of major labels. As she has proved throughout her entire life, age is just a number to Little Simz and, as the years go by, she becomes all the more unstoppable.

Like this? Check out J. Cole '4 Your Eyez Only' review