Little Simz is a 21-year-old London-based rapper taking the world by storm. She has real passion, effortless flow and her thought provoking rhymes are introspective while grappling with social and political issues affecting our generation. The brave emcee sure had her finger on the pulse when she jumped at the opportunity to visit Cape Town and get a first hand look at the student protests during the #FeesMustFall student strikes.
"There were a lot of protests going on – the government was raising student fees 10 percent," she commented. "That was interesting because that's kind of what's happening in the UK. Education is a right, not a privilege."
Check out the video for 'Gratitude' directed by Jeremy Cole. It's a powerful song, which proves that youth from around the world are united on the issue of education for all…
The production, by electronica/soul group The Hics, draws on live footage and sound clips from the strike action, giving the song a real sense of drama and history. The lyrics are a mix of empathy and self-reflection, as Simz shows maturity beyond her years – she talks of her own privilege and the struggles of those less privileged in the same breath.
"I'm aware that as much as people like hearing and listening to my music, it's also very therapeutic for me to be able to express myself," she explains about the process of making music. "Rapping about how I'm feeling, how I'm thinking, and just saying what's in my heart and on my mind. I need to do that to maintain my sanity."
Her debut album, A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons, hit the international rap scene like napalm on the beach in September 2015, and one of the most influential rappers in the game, Kendrick Lamar, acknowledged her as "one of the realest doing it." Despite being hounded by major labels, she chose to create her own, independent label Age 101 and she's about to embark on a world tour. So it looks like Little Simz is about to become a real player on planet rap.
"I never knew listening to a song could give you goose bumps and make you cry until I listened to Ms. Lauryn Hill," she says. "It evokes an emotion that's indescribable."
Little Simz has achieved the artistic heights of her own icon – she's made a song that evokes so many emotions – anger, empathy and courage.