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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

GREY Area

Little Simz

2019

GREY Area
Album Summary

Grey Area (stylised as GREY Area) is the third studio album by English rapper Little Simz, released on 1 March 2019 through Age 101 Music and AWAL. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 91, based on 15 reviews. In the review for AllMusic, Liam Martin praised the album by claiming that "On her third full-length album, Grey Area, Simz has reached a new peak, with an honest record that isn't afraid to take shots at the world at large. It's also incredibly concise -- an aspect that many of her peers often miss the mark on -- with no filler despite the broad variation the record boasts." Kyann-Sian Williams of NME praised the album, giving it a perfect score and saying, "Across these 10 tracks, Simz utilises her most valuable commodity: honesty. Having stripped away the narrative cloak that shrouded the highlights of 'Stillness In Wonderland', she's crafted a knockout record – and finally come true on her early promise. This is the best rap record of the year so far.". William Rosebury of The Line of Best Fit said, "It's brave but vulnerable, energetic but reflective and youthful but wise. If you listen to any Little Simz track, you'll know instantly she's a great MC, but with this project she has stepped beyond that to become a uniquely gifted artist. An incredible album.".

Wikipedia

Rating

3.28

Votes

10321
Genres
Hip Hop

Reviews

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Sun Mar 26 2023
5

Usually when I get record assigned from the list that I’ve never heard of, from an artist I’m completely unfamiliar with (especially newer records), a shiver runs up my spine, a sense of trepidation sets in and I begin to question my life choices. Can you blame me, though? Each and everyone of us has been burned by this dumb list and have had to sit through out fair share of underwhelming to straight up awful records. Well, that initial reaction couldn’t have been more unfounded with GREY Area. This is a fantastic record. Little Simz has impressive flow and the instrumentation is funky and engaging. At 35 minutes long, it’s concise, hits hard right out of the gate and doesn’t over stay its welcome. In fact, it leaves you wanting more.

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Mon Nov 29 2021
1

lol this was the musical equivalent of those memes trashy people share on Facebook when they don't want to admit they're bottom feeders, and think everyone around them is the problem, holding them down. Just a whole heap of mindless "street philosophy" about removing toxic people from your life and being true to yourself. SPARE ME. 1/5.

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Thu Nov 04 2021
4

I am really impressed at Little Simz' skill here. She has a lyrical deftness, a flow and capability I do not regularly hear. The brevity of the album is also a big factor here. A lot of rap albums have so much filler, skits and interludes that just... ugh. It makes it difficult for me to want to come back to the album and do a complete re-listen. Hearing the "n-word" so often I did start to tune it out. It is tough to hear in people's albums nowadays. Definitely a nice change of pace album for me. I really enjoyed this and the showcase of her skill as well as how the MC really compliments her.

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Thu Oct 21 2021
4

Great with some hard hitting lyrics, will listen to again

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Thu Nov 04 2021
4

Damn, nice surprise here. I've never heard of her but Little Simz (and her team?) is talented. Really good lyrics/wordplay on a bunch of tracks (Offence, Venom...despite copious use of the p word, Pressure, Sherbet Sunset) and she can rap (Missy Elliott fast). Great bass lines and beats on the first two tracks (I could listen to Boss over and over) and some of the later ones (101 FM, Therapy). Tight album. Gonna have to listen to more of her music.

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Tue Apr 26 2022
1

The sole interesting thing about this album is the amount of actual live instrumention it employs instead of just sampling. Otherwise it can fuck off.

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Fri Nov 19 2021
5

Very cool British hip-hop album. I enjoy her vocals and flow quite a bit. No complaints.

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Fri Nov 12 2021
4

I like her. Has a Guy Ritchie vibe. She could easily score any Ritchie or Soderburgh movie. Selfish is a beauty of a track. Wounds sounds like an Eminem track. VENOM! So much being said there. I need to revisit that one. This was a true project. Tons of work, talent, hooks, beats, all of it. If you're going to make a hip hop record today, this is required listening.

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Tue Nov 23 2021
4

Anyone who is friends with Michael Kiwanuka is a friend of mine. This is the rap I’m here for

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Wed Dec 01 2021
4

This Little Simz album from 2019 was added as part of the newest update to 1001 albums (circa 2021). While not the newest album on the list, it is still fresh enough that it's quite bold to put it down in the list of 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Regardless, Little Simz is a rapper I'm already familiar with, having released the fantastic Sometimes I Might Be Introvert in 2021 (which could very well be album of the year for me). Truly, I have few qualms about this being added to the list. Simz hits hard with her rhymes, switching up her flow and vocal styling to keep you engaged. Simz is accompanied by production from Inflo, who brings beats and structure to the songs that are unlike anything else right now. Genuinely incredible. Compared to her follow-up, I think I still prefer SIMBI for the satisfying framing and continued pushing of boundaries, but this is still a great album through and through.

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Mon Oct 30 2023
3

Little Simz provides a refreshing perspective through her lyrics + "Wounds" sounds super slick.

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Mon Nov 22 2021
2

I was expecting to skip this. It was better then i was expecting. I'm not into British hip hop, modern hip hop, people with little in their names. This wasn't bad. I'm not sure I'd listen again but i didn't hate it.

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Thu Jul 07 2022
1

I don't need to hear any more rap before I die, thanks. Despite the general lack of misogyny (which is not surprising from a female) I continue to be offended by the casual racism.

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Tue Nov 02 2021
5

5 stars. This album was great. Catchy, interesting and creative

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Thu Jan 13 2022
5

Tops. Voice, lyrics, beats. Vibes. You’re not ready for pussy in power. Venom.”

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Tue Feb 22 2022
5

Bops on bops on bops. I've been craving some more modern female MCs that I vibed with, and this delivered that and more.

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Fri Oct 29 2021
4

First time that I heard it, it didn't impress me that much. However repeated listens showed me how brilliant this record is. Her rhyme schemes work masterfully with the laidback yet creative production.

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Wed Oct 27 2021
2

Nothing great, boring to OK at best.

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Thu Jun 09 2022
1

Don't know this. Don't like this. Don't care about this. For me this whole project is about listening to groundbreaking or influential albums or even masterpieces that have shaped their respective styles. So why bother us with a random dime-a-dozen modern rap album?

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Thu Nov 04 2021
5

This album came up on the list as I was discovering Little Simz through her newest album, "Sometimes I Might Be Introvert." I already knew from repeated listens of that album that I liked her as an artist. GREY Area grooves just as well. It's perhaps a little more aggressive than its follow-up. It does stay strong from start to finish though. Boss has an amazing beat and I love the keyboards at the end of the track. She has amazing wordplay on all of the tracks and both the words and the beats stay with you long after the album is over. Apart from Boss I'd say my favorites are Wounds, Venom, Therapy and Sherbet Sunset.

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Tue Nov 23 2021
5

Wow! This is great! Low key beats and awesome flow. Love the accent on the raps.

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Sat Nov 27 2021
5

Little Simz is the next big thing in hio hop. This record and 2021's "Sometimes I Might Be Introvert" are definite proof

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Tue Dec 14 2021
5

immediately replayed for a second time and then a third.

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Thu Jan 13 2022
5

Modern, yet timeless rap album that non rap loving listener can still love

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Fri Jan 21 2022
5

Muy disfrutable. Una grata sorpresa en esta reentrada a la dinámica de los 100001 discos. Me seguí con sus otros discos. Mood: baked

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Tue Feb 22 2022
5

Surprisingly laidback and Contemplative for something in the modern grime Era, and I am certain Little Simz has a career for many years to come with this unique take on the sound.

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Wed Feb 23 2022
5

Great rap album out of the UK

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Thu Feb 24 2022
5

Some decent smooth and jazzy production and a reasonably interesting flow. She’s got a fair amount to say with some interesting introspection. Just not a massive fan of her tone and the whole thing was a bit down tempo for me.

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Fri Feb 25 2022
5

2019 will go down as the best year of the decade without a doubt, wish I was across this in real time but listening to it in 2022 will have to do. There are some absolutely massive tracks on this.

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Thu Mar 03 2022
5

Outstanding, significant, meaningful, entrancing. I should have listened to her before.

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Sat Mar 19 2022
5

Excellent, progresses while keeping you in your toes.

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Mon Mar 27 2023
4

Jazz-rap, funky and spacey beats, lyrics and flows are incredible. Unique artist, loved this. Great album.

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Wed Feb 02 2022
3

I feel a bit of presh that I've never been that into Lil Simz and everyone creamz about her. I enjoyed some songs more than others, but general just ambivalence. Soz

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Tue Apr 18 2023
3

Well, I think this is the best British rapper that I've been served on this list. I can say that. I can also say that she at least sounds modern in the era that she's working in, unlike many of the other British rap entries on this list. It's fine. I don't get why this album in particular was singled out (other than that it was British), but it's at least fine. I still haven't gotten a Kendrick album on this list yet, though, at that fact becomes more glaring every time that I get an album by a British rapper who I've never heard of 3/5

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Wed Oct 20 2021
2

… it’s eh 101 FM was a cool song, I liked the production for the album but i’ll die before I call a mf brit a “good rapper” I have a deep hatred for those wankers that think they can rap so honestly i’m kind of on chaotic ends in this album, great beats, terrible vocals/rap I’ll give it a 4/10

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Wed Nov 17 2021
2

Production sounds good but this isn’t my jam.

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Fri Dec 03 2021
2

Didn’t hate it but it’s not my thing. Liked her voice and the song with Michael Kiwanuka

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Mon Jan 10 2022
2

Solid album but understandably unheard of. Inspired by Fugees and maybe Mereba.. 3/5

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Mon Jan 17 2022
2

I’ll paraphrase her ‘she’s just a bad jayzee’

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Thu Jan 20 2022
2

Well this is fucking terrible

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Mon Feb 14 2022
2

I was wondering when I would get my first rap album. Expected Tupac, Dr. Dre, Snoop, Eminem, Jay-Z, NWA, Biggie, or any other of the pioneers of rap. Instead I got a no name, marginally talented, British rapper that no one has heard of. Trying not to let that effect my rating, listening to this with an open mind, it still was below average at best.

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Fri May 12 2023
2

Objectively a good record, but I still haven't clicked with British rap. Blimey crumpets, god save the king or whatever. Feels weird to say that instead of "God save the queen". I have nothing to say about this, I'm just writing random words.

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Wed Dec 20 2023
2

Not my favorite taste. Interesting instrumental arrangements

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Wed Nov 03 2021
1

First listen. Never heard of him before. Not for me.

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Mon Nov 22 2021
1

I don't think there was anything in this that I liked

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Fri Nov 26 2021
5

catchy, layered, and pretty brilliant

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Tue Apr 05 2022
5

Vraiment une decourte qui en vaut la peine. Fait longtemps jai pas entendu du bon rap comme ca 5

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Fri Apr 22 2022
5

nytænkende, fede beats, UK, progressivt, en moderne klassiker

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Tue May 10 2022
5

Smashing. The beats are immense and whilst I'm not hugely into rap the lyrical dexterity of Little Simz is something to be admired. Cutting content, a great British talent

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Mon Jul 25 2022
5

This is aggressive. The lowend never disappoints.

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Mon Jul 25 2022
5

Great Album. Surprised. I would have never listened

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Mon Aug 29 2022
5

Liked thisva lot. Intricate and varied backing tracks took me on a journey...accompanied by passionate, agile lyrics. Will be listening more

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Fri Sep 02 2022
5

Brilliant. Just packed with invention and cool ideas, some amazing lyrics and flow. Not what I was expecting, but absolutely lives up to the hype.

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Sat Oct 01 2022
5

Wow! I'd heard her more recent album, SIMBI and had been blown away. But this album was way better than I'd expected, why was it not huge. The combo of incredibly versatile emotive bars, the blaxploitation soundtrack adjacent sleaze funk of the beats and the wide subject matter... This is a modern hip hop classic. I may buy it tomorrow! If you do one track, check the Busta style fire at the start of Venom.

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Thu Oct 06 2022
5

This fucking slaps. Little Simz says the n-word with a hard R sometimes (not bad or anything, but definitely shocking a bit considering how American rappers do it). Again, this fucking slaps, and it might be the first non-Slick Rick British rap that I enjoyed?

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Mon Oct 24 2022
5

Ummmm…wow I’ve heard songs of this before, but this experience as an album is crazy. She is angry, bitter, and has the hunger and skill to back up everything she says. You can’t look for much more in a record - I’m in love. Thanks Simbi - My first 5 😘

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Mon Oct 24 2022
5

Yo, 5 out of 5! So hype on it.

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Mon Nov 21 2022
5

bello figo variegato giovane

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Tue Dec 13 2022
5

it’s not as good as her latest, but still an excellent album.

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Tue Dec 13 2022
5

Really solid album. Cool flow and fantastic instrumentation. I’m here for all of her creative choices

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Wed Dec 14 2022
5

This was such an unexpected surprise. I won’t lie. I thought it was Jaden Smith on the cover! Little Simz is so freaking good. Every single track was fire. I added every track to a playlist in Spotify and this goes in heavy rotation.

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Sat Dec 17 2022
5

A breath of fresh air after some recent ponderous rap album listens. Great musical arrangements, clever and smart rap, and a strong feeling of honesty really elevates this. I appreciated how lean it was compared to some of the sprawling, way too long recent selections in this genre. Exciting to have something I wasn’t looking forward to surprise me. Really great!

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Sat Dec 17 2022
5

This was new to me and totally great.

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Tue Dec 20 2022
5

I love this album and have listened to it many times before. It's one of my favorite hip hop albums of recent times and I think Little Simz is one of the best rappers working today. Great instrumentals and production throughout too, she went to to build and improve on this even further on her next album.

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Wed Jan 04 2023
5

Jay Z on a bad day and Shakespeare on a worse day, Little Simz allows us to explore her grey area and see what makes her tick. One of the most enigmatic rappers around today, she uses her thirty-five minutes wisely and without any intention to waste, getting her point across and passing further heights with her illustrative world building.

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Wed Jan 18 2023
5

I was surprised to see such a new album in the list. When I saw that it was Little Simz however, I was no longer that surprised. I first heard Simz on Gorillaz' 2017 track "Garage Palace" but she has only gone from strength to strength and is now a pretty mainstream name in the UK. This album does not disappoint in the slightest - Simz has absolutely amazing flow, and the instrumentation and production is superb. There's a couple of chill tracks, and some tracks full of fire and venom, and while I'm not too sure about some of the lyrics (I thought we were past the point of rhyming the n-word with the n-word...) the absolutely unreal flow and rhythm of Simz' rapping makes up for it. Great album, and I'm glad to see Simz made the list. Favourite: Selfish

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Thu Jan 19 2023
5

Actually really fucking good

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Fri Jan 20 2023
5

4.6 - Not a wasted rhyme, bum sample or lame collab on here. Just a lean, ferocious onslaught of bars. Little Simz expounds authoritatively about her life and her ambitions and her flow is bulletproof. Even reading the lyrics alongside her delivery has my head spinning. All 10 tracks are bangers but I'd highlight a few moments: "Venom" sounds like a counterpoint to the dick-wielding "For Free?" by Kenrick Lamar; I love the vaporwave-y samples on "101 FM" and the message on "Therapy."

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Tue Jan 31 2023
5

A contemporary classic and one of the best hip hop albums of all time.

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Tue Feb 14 2023
5

Speak King! What amazing production! I dig the dialect hard. This is great.

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Sat Feb 25 2023
5

I refuse to believe that British hip hop has evolved this far from trash like the streets in less than 20 years. Two albums from this genre managed to get into my 1 stars while this honestly might make it into my 5 star dependent on how much I listen to it tomorrow because it’s great from the lyrics to the beats to the overall sound.

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Mon Mar 06 2023
5

No stress I'm a boss in a fucking dress. Simz has found space to rap about her lived experiences and the prejudices she has faced in summiting the music industry. Innovative samples, traditional Chinese to Rasta to grime

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Tue Mar 14 2023
5

Feeling, passion, introspection, great live instrumentation. Boss, which was one of the most famous songs off the album was actually my least favourite, which is strange as I usually love confrontational music. Had Jasmine Sullivan yesterday, and whilst I enjoyed that, the energy of this blows it out the water.

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Fri Mar 17 2023
5

SLAPS. absolute bop after bop.

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Wed Apr 05 2023
5

Big ol' fan. I had been recommended a Little Simz song a couple weeks ago from a different album and really enjoyed it so I was pleased to get offered up this one. Super fun, unique music production with all sorts of different vibes and instrumentations. Weird notice but she must have a metronome in her head because she raps so fucking on-beat it's insane. Big fan of all of it. especially 'Offence' 'Boss' and '101 FM'

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Mon Apr 24 2023
5

Really did not expect to like this as I'm not a huge rap fan, and most rap I do enjoy is from the 80s and 90s. However I loved the beats, lyrics, and general flow of this album. The production and use of sound effects was top notch as well. The content was poignant, aggressive, but also descriptive and empathetic. 5/5 Favorites: 101 FM, Selfish, Wounds Least Favorites:

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Tue May 02 2023
5

Love this. Can't believe I skipped it when it came out.

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Fri May 19 2023
5

Little Simz is the stage name of London rapper Simbi Abisola Abiola Ajikawo. For someone who is only 29, she has accomplished so much!! She has had some acting gigs, and has released 5 studio albums up to this point. This one I am reviewing today is her third. Simz states that Biggie Smalls, Nas, and Lauryn Hill were huge influences for her. I was a huge fan of Simz's style of music, mixing rapping and singing parts together, and from time to time rapping in a "chopping" style (rapping very fast). The flow she achieves is amazing! I was happy to see that the song Flowers featured Michael Kiwanuka (who I've reviewed on here before, and thoroughly enjoyed). Overall, a phenomenal album today, and one that completely blind sided me. I assumed when I saw her stage name that I would be dealing with a shitty "rap/pop" group like Juice WRLD, Lil Peep, or Lil Nas X, especially given the fact that the album dropped in 2019. However, that is not what this was at all. This was closer to 90's - early 00's rap (Like Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, or Eminem). Very thoroughly enjoyed this album today. Listened to it 3 times in fact! Favourite songs: Boss, Venom, Flowers, Therapy, Offence, Pressure Least favourite songs: if forced to pick, Wounds 5/5

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Wed May 31 2023
5

My first 5/5 with this list and well deserved. I've been meaning to check out some of Little Simz work for a while due to high praise, and I see why. Every track was great, and she is one hell of an emcee. Lots of personality, writing ability, and impact. Production on this was also excellent front to back. Short and sweet album; no filler and all great.

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Fri Jun 09 2023
5

Raw, vulnerable, defiant, slick. Astonishing how much is packed into just 35 minutes.

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Mon Jun 19 2023
5

I was really surprised by this album. I was expecting something more copycat of 90s hip-hop or even some trap, and both could be nice when well conceived. However, I got something different, maybe in the middle of these two styles. I see some 90s reflections and early trap but with a lot of jazz and classic R&B that made me feel good listening to it. I enjoyed the lyrics, too, and I'll check other Little Simz albums.

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Tue Jun 27 2023
5

I tried to find any pretext to rate this album with 4 stars, but I couldn't. I am fascinated. GREY area explores flawlessly diverse textures and engages the listener song after song.

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Wed Jun 28 2023
5

Very good.Nice to see more modern stuff on the list.The instruments are nice and the album is kinda stripped back in parts.I like simz’s delivery and lyrics,good.

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