Little Simz
GREY Area


4.5
superb

Review

by c396 USER (1 Reviews)
April 25th, 2019 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: We do not see the f**kery until we’re out of it.

'GREY Area' is – unquestionably – the best hip-hop of the year so far. While the genre may be in the midst of a commercial watershed moment, Little Simz is here to ask us what cost that comes at. I like Post Malone & Childish Gambino. I really do. But let’s be clear as can be—it’s all a little bit s**t, & it’s only going to get worse with age. Little Simz is here to give us all a little clarity.

At only 35-odd minutes & 10 tracks, 'GREY Area' is a practice in sparsity. Nearly every beat throughout this project aim for simple-yet-effective, juxtaposing with the trap-flavored trends dominating the genre the past few years. Simz shows little outside influence from adjacent genres, instead focusing on old school hip-hop & grime with swaggering bass & percussion on every track. All of this is to highlight the vocal performances, which are genuinely difficult to overstate. At one point in 'Venom,' she’s rapping over a lone ride cymbal & absolutely crushing it over the hardest track on the record. She is constantly hitting with powerful, flexible flows, nailing every single lyrical moment—bar for bar for bar. From rapid fire rapping to shouting, there isn’t a weak or predictable moment in her performance throughout the entire LP.

This is such a standout record because Little Simz manages to make each track a focused exercise in honesty. While some of the greats in the hip-hop community have been releasing some of their weakest & most cluttered material on their most recent outputs (looking at you, DAMN.), the topics on each track of this are tightly condensed. This allows for some potent statements on the likes of gun violence on 'Wounds', self-love on 'Selfish,' or mental fortitude on 'Therapy.' Every track does exactly what it sets out to do with extreme precision & consistency across the entire run time.

While this record may be darn near flawless, it isn’t perfect. Little Simz gives a world-class showing in skill, discipline, dedication, & purpose that virtually none of her peers can match, but this project does lack a certain amount of ambition. As outstanding as the songs are, 'GREY Area' is still just a collection of tracks without a major overarching theme with little in the way of left-fielders thrown in the mix. Each song is fairly predictable & there aren’t a lot of risks taken. All this is to say that the future for Little Simz is even brighter than her present. Even with how high a caliber she's performing at now, her way upwards seems fairly clear.

Without being overly braggadocios (although with lines like ‘I’m Jay-Z on my bad day, Shakespeare on my worst days,’ she proves she can pull that off whenever she wants), & without taking aim at the state of hip-hop today, she shows what we’ve been missing out on. We’ve gradually lowered our standards, to the point where mediocrity has been dominating even some of the most critically acclaimed hip-hop records of this generation. Little Simz is here to snap us out of this & show us that we should hold our artists to a higher standard. Get it together hip-hop - you've got a new king.


user ratings (142)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Asdfp277
April 25th 2019


20300 Comments


playing PS2, crash bandicoot, mortal kombat

Digging: Ghost Park - ??? (Mononoke)

wwf
April 25th 2019


6274 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really good review, this album fuckin rules

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2019


16966 Comments


nice review, and glad this has one now

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
April 25th 2019


9402 Comments


"Without being overly braggadocios"

I feel like that should be spelled braggadocious. It looks wrong without the "u". Like fabulos.

Good review tho! Pos.

bloc
April 25th 2019


55394 Comments


Surprised this hadn't been reviewed yet, it's getting a lot of hype

Digging: Lil Ugly Mane - Mista Thug Isolation

theNateman
April 25th 2019


3643 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

To be fair, she did the 'high concept' route on her last record so it makes sense to simplify

Digging: Kevin Abstract - ARIZONA BABY

Ebola
April 26th 2019


3576 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review for a great album

ProjectFreak
May 1st 2019


3607 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

man, 101 FM into Pressure is a great combo. Love the beats, love her flow, I think this is just a great album

Haelaeif
May 15th 2019


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

'throughout this project aim_s_ for simple-yet-effective,'



Inconsistent punctuation with commas and quotes.



Both nitpicks, GG review; checking now, it's p. fun.

Asdfp277
May 15th 2019


20300 Comments


it ain't bump that much

DoofDoof
May 15th 2019


3310 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I got a grey area in muh beard

Digging: The Young Gods - Data Mirage Tangram

rabidfish
May 15th 2019


5074 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

it's dope... i like the instrumentation on most of these.

Digging: Billy Woods, Kenny Segal - Hiding Places

DoofDoof
May 15th 2019


3310 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album is equally impressive and ‘off’ all at the same time.



A strange one. Overall more good than bad.

ProjectFreak
May 16th 2019


3607 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

'off' how, Doof? And what are your favorite tracks?



This keeps growing on me, largely thanks to 101 FM...

DoofDoof
May 16th 2019


3310 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think the first few tracks are ‘I’ve heard it once, do I really need to hear it again’

Just not repeat plays musically pleasurable particularly - esp the opening two.



Album is tight enough from ‘venom’ on though



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