Breakout star, Little Simz started the first British leg of her world tour in Bristol. King Simbi (her infamous moniker) delivered a performance with energy and showed the world why she is literally one of the hottest names on everybodys lips. She is the epitome of hyped right now. Kendrick Lamar and Stormzy, among others, have sung her praises.
Its easy to forget that Little Simz is running an independent label, successfully organised her own world tour and has fought away the advances of massive labels who already see the massive potential in her she is also the first rapper on FORBES inaugural 30 Under 30 Europe roster, no mean feat I tell you! Judging by the lack of queue outside the venue you couldve been forgiven that this was going to be quiet one. As the night progressed though, roughly 3500 people were in attendance. People from all walks of life; musicians, teenagers, middle aged men.
One thing for certain was that everybody in attendance knew who she was! The first act of the night was fellow Space Age rapper Chuck 20 who held down the fort, performing cuts from his SoundCloud. When he finished, there was applause as fans headed to the bar and the DJ began spinning tracks –Kendrick Lamar –Alright, Stormzy, Skepta.
Songs to up the tempo and stir the full capacity. Next on stage was Tiffany Gouche, an unknown quality to the fans that day. She has collaborated with Simz on a few songs. Tiffany Gouche had warming, soothing vocals and delivered a performance that was to set the tone for the night. Her lyrics deep and meaningful, had the crowd hanging on to every word she sang. Anticipation was thick in the air as Little Simz came on at 9:00 p.m.
The smooth production and clearly defined hooks that Little Simz uses — she claims to be primarily inspired by hip hop artists such as Notorious B.I.G., rather than todays hottest trend of grime — are more suited to the massive US market. This leaves her in a strong position with regards to her future in the recorded music industry, its difficult to see how this appeal will translate to a 350-capacity room on a cold Bristol Tuesday night. It may seem as if Little Simz music is more suited to your headphones than a room. However from the moment Little Simz launches into Wings, it is clear she is in complete control. Her conviction is total. She skips from one bar to the next, she makes it look easy, and she knows that she is making it look easy. Simz then moves onto Gratitude keeping the melody sweet, bass low, and lyrics forceful, solidifying her position as a force to be reckoned with, taking the title of King. Not Queen, because “women can be kings”.
Her music is melodic, jazzy soul, and borders on sweet, but her lyrics are anything but that. Focusing on themes of freedom, individuality, love, and heartbreak, her show was interspersed with little stories that she shared with the audience. Simz must deal with an apology recorded in God Bless Mary, an ode to a kind neighbour who put up with her music-making for the last decade. Joined by her Age 101 Space Age movement, Simz tight knit team, mostly made up of friends, the Space Age clan mobbed the stage for Dead Body and delivered a scintillating performance which was an apt reminder of why theres a lot to be excited about the urban British scene.
Dead Body draws on her grimier roots from London and as she rapped effortlessly with guile not one person in the crowd stood still. Simz demonstrates her uncompromising persona by delving into her darker side describing a devil on both shoulders. If youre still sleeping on her, you can do no worse by downloading her E.Ps and debut album A Curious Tale of Trials & Persons. Shes on the proverbial train to stardom and theres no stopping King Simbi!