Little Simz did not come to play - she punches her way into your headphones screaming and shouting a warning call: Stay out of her way.

Simz (Simbi Ajikawo) has had a few albums' worth of "finding her way", but on GREY Area she finds herself standing firm and strong at just 25 years old, exploring themes of sexism, empowerment, relationships, idolisation and power.

The London rapper - co-signed by rap superstar Kendrick Lamar - has known success before, but here she truly throws down a gauntlet, coming in strong with Offence.

She warns: "Me again... and I'm here to pick up where I left off...I said it with my chest / I don't care who I offend". A sentiment she later backs up on Boss, in which she literally screams: "I'm a boss in a f***ing dress".


It's not all just rap and heavy bass though. With the help of Cleo Sol, Selfish feels like a Syd track, complete with introspection, questioning and uncertainty; Flowers is a sultry jazz number and 101FM draws on oriental influences.

Venom plays like a Jordan Peele horror soundtrack, on which Simz spits truths about sexism with insane flow, rapping: "They will never want to admit I'm the best here / For the mere fact that I've got ovaries...Never give 'em credit when it's due / 'cause they don't like pu**y in power".

Elsewhere she discusses gun and gang violence, fame, wealth and self-care, reflecting on her idols - the likes of Amy Winehouse and Jimi Hendrix - and not only their blinding success but their tragic endings.

This seems to be the GREY Area. At no point on this album does Simz have answers. She has strong views, yes, but she also has doubts, questions and fears - both professionally and personally.

Perhaps most pertinently in times as trying as these, she writes: "People are dying / Who gives a f**k about making hits?". That might be why GREY Area is as good as it is; there was no focus on making hits or money, just storytelling, catharsis and truth.

The hits are just a bonus.

Little Simz, GREY Area

Artist: Little Simz
Album: GREY Area
Label: Age 101/Awal
Verdict: This is what a boss in a dress sounds like.