The London rapper Little Simz snagged a Mercury Prize nomination for last year’s widely heralded Grey Area, and she’s back today with another impressive set of tunes. Drop 6 features five new tracks, all co-produced by Simz herself alongside a range of collaborators like Kal Banx and BLK VYNL. The first song is called “might bang, might not,” but after one spin through the EP I can confirm the whole thing decidedly bangs. Another title proclaims, “you should call me mum,” and yep, that one rings true as well.
“I’m back on my bullshit,” she announces on that one over a frantic uptempo bassline. “You ain’t seen no one like me since/ Lauryn Hill back in the 90s, bitch/ Feeling myself, yeah I might be, bitch/ Got an old soul when you know that/ Better olders, make way for the ’90s kid.” From there, Drop 6 continues to match head-spinning bars with stylish production that finds noise within minimalism.
Simz will be hosting a livestreamed “listening experience” involving a Q&A today at 2PM ET. She’s also shared an essay along with the new EP, which you can read below while cranking the music.
Here’s the essay:
I don’t mind being alone. I quite enjoy my own company actually. However choosing to be alone is different from being forced to be alone and that’s where the difficulty comes in. You’re stuck with yourself, 24 hours of the day, 7 days of the week. There are only so many naps I can take in a day. So this is what happens when the world stops. 2018 was a shit year, to say the least. 2019 was probably the best year of my life. I was doing what I loved and I was on a high. I’m a workaholic. Always have been, probably always will be. Practicing stillness is a challenge. I’m also a creature of habit. If you know me, you know my comfort lies in my red and black scarf around my head, my hot water bottle, a sofa, and a blanket. I’m content. I think about how this time in isolation has impacted my mental health and has brought to light how much I suppress things that I feel super intensely. I hate crying. I feel weak when I cry. I’ve cried a lot over the past month. Feeling over and underwhelmed somehow. Feeling like I don’t have anything valuable to offer because the state of the world is so fucked, what can I ACTUALLY contribute. Nothing really matters and no one really cares. All that self-doubt shit I never imagined thinking. I think about my mum, and how much I want to do and give to her, but I can’t do that if there’s a fucking pandemic happening and I’m locked up, can I? She doesn’t ask for much. All she asks is that I look after myself and do what makes me happy.
I started working on an EP early April, with a plan to finish it by the end of the month. Around mid-April I got disheartened and started getting in my own way. That self-doubt shit again. “This isn’t good enough, people won’t like this, its shit, the mix is trash,” everything negative under the sun. My neighbour told me to turn the music down one day, he’s working from home. He clearly wasn’t as tolerant as Mary. I’d never seen him before, he just moved in next door. I said ok, I asked what his hours were (trying to compromise). “9:30am – 6:30pm”, he said. He was cool with the noise after that time. I said ok. He asked if I was playing drums ha. Nah nigga that’s that bass. (Osiris’ bass that is, I was working on a song to one of his beats, Track 5). I explained what I was working on and he said “ah so this is actually your work too?”. I said yes but I wasn’t really in the mood for big big convo so I wrapped it up, apologising again for the noise, and then politely kept it moving. Well this is annoying. I like to work on music during the day, I like sunlight. Especially the way it hits through my windows in my living room, makes me feel inspired to be productive. That didn’t matter though, because I was already giving up on the EP anyway.
I woke up one morning after a hard couple of days feeling sad, low and depressed. Checked my twitter timeline and saw some beautiful photographs somebody had taken, portraits they were. It instantly hit me. I’ve always known my creativity has no boundaries or limitations and will always stretch way beyond music. Photography is another medium and outlet for me to express myself. It’s an instantaneous art form. That’s what I love. When I first started, I used to immediately review each shot I’d taken, craving perfection. Deleting on the spot the ones I didn’t like. A friend noticed I kept doing that, he’s a painter and takes photos also. He told me don’t focus on deleting, focus on taking more.
After serious procrastination I decided to stop being a lil bitch and cry baby and knuckle down on the EP. I gassed myself up, There’s no one else here, I’m alone, I had to. It started to feel good. I started to get really excited, wheeling myself up, spudding myself. I had to. Then I completed it. and when? End of the month just as I’d set out too. Things come full circle in the end don’t they? The middle feels like growing pains, self-doubt is a bitch and the only way out is through. Thank you for being the lights that you are. You’re all needed, valued, appreciated, and loved. Not just by me of course and I am sure I can speak on behalf of everyone you hold dear in your lives close to you.
This is a turbulent time but we don’t fold. We don’t come from that. We will always be fine.
Drop 6 is out now on AGE 101/AWAL. Purchase it here.