The new Little Simz album, “GREY Area,” has received praise throughout the month of March in notable publications such as NME, Pitchfork and The Independent. Furthermore, YouTube music critic Anthony Fantano (of TheNeedleDrop) went as far to say that it is the best hip-hop album of the year on his Instagram page.

So is the hype around this album all true? For one, I had no prior knowledge about Little Simz and never really listened to her music. So coming into this album, I had a clean slate to see what she was all about.

I was impressed with the new album. Right off the bat, tracks such as “Selfish” and “Venom” demonstrate her flow; one that is smooth, rapid and confident. “Selfish” displays how she attempts to practice self-love by having high standards of the men that she is seeing and how she views herself as a “woman of class.” She doesn’t want some who is lazy and waiting for things to happen, she wants someone who has worked their way up to make things happen.

Interesting enough, the chorus (sung by Cleo Sol) shows an acknowledgment that some can view her thoughts as a bit selfish. She responds that maybe they are right, which shows an acknowledgment of her vulnerability.

One of my favorites off of the album is the track “101 FM,” a track that talks about a simpler time in her life playing Mortal Kombat and Crash Bandicoot. But there she was also dealt with hardships with her friends as she mentioned that one of them was robbed, which brings really touching and revealing moments on the album.

Most of the album’s production shows influences of jazz rap, which already entices me as a fan of the genre. But the most interesting aspect is that it feels modern and slick as well making sure that Simz retains her own personality and voice. It’s a healthy balance of drawing from the past but also providing new things for the present. It is these arguments, as well as the lyrical topics, that makes “GREY Area” a contender for the best hip-hop album of the year.

An example of this is the track “Wounds,” I love the jazzy guitars, slinky bass and the soothing voice from Chronixx. Lyrically, this talks about the horrors of gun violence and how holding that gun hurting others doesn’t make you tough or a man, because with that gun, someone can lose their life and can bring serious damage. The chorus adds that love is the best way to quell the anger inside the person who holds the gun; it can bring them to reality and help them understand the potential harm that it can bring to others.

“GREY Area” is a fantastic listening experience and I certainly agree with many people that this is one of the best hip-hop albums of the year. In fact, this could be one of the best albums of the year.  I never really got bored with it during the entire 35 minutes. This is a good album to introduce yourself to Little Simz’s music and it gives you an opportunity to listen to her catalog.

Label: Age 101 Music

Listen to “GREY Area” on Spotify: