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Little Simz isn't willing to compromise for anyone. It's what makes the 21-year-old North London artist so irrepressibly and unabashedly essential. And that's precisely why her debut album A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons is the most multifaceted and masterful contemporary feminist rap album of recent memory. From her sonic delivery to an unreformed industry presence, there will be no negotiations; no compromise, because she shouldn't have to, as is the same for any artist/woman/person. So while the music plays, refrain from directing your attention to extraneous distractions such as appearance, genre, sex or norms, as Little Simz is busy shifting classifications and claiming the title of king.

As the antithesis of the "industry plant", the young creative's unrelenting independent grind serves as a modern autonomous map, marked by the Islington artist's paved route to releasing her full-length debut under her own label, Age 101. Delivered in soul-hop abundance, A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons is a concept album centered on the topic of fame and how it alters one's identity, from assertiveness to priorities and most prominently, relationships. By placing herself center-stage and into the roles of various buoyant characters at different stages of their journey to illustrious distinction, her self-aware libretti and multi-faceted choice of production alters new plots throughout the dark and eerie dystopia Simz has shaped sonically.

"They told her woman cannot call themselves kings. They told her fame is not made for everyone," she growls on the assertive album opener 'Persons'. "The industry will break you, you're not strong enough." Regardless of whether the words were uttered from the mouths of sceptical tastemakers, protective family-members or a clashing inner-monologue inside the rapper's own consciousness, they're soon silenced all the same, the moment the debut begins. The mission statement that women can surpass their male counterparts is an empowering truth oftentimes whispered and overruled in a misogynistic industry. But Simz doesn't have to submit or lower her battle cries, as she answers to no one. In nearly every recent Little Simz interview, writers never cease to mention the co-signs she's received from many of rap's heavyweights since snatching headlines and blog placements, but male peer acknowledgement is rendered irrelevant when her braggadocios bars demand their own respect freely. Although strong and feminine simultaneously, her inclusive gender-neutral referral to 'persons' throughout the opus is also naturally yoking and ensures the attention is centered on Sim'z smooth and experimental blend of rap, as she positions her crown on her braided head-top with one hand, while she clutches her mic with the other.

To the Space Age artist, the real threat to amity is the notion of celebrity that acts as the composition's contrasting antihero. And for Simz, her effort to remain grounded proves just as important as her fervent grind for success. "Wrote this in the same bedroom that I started in. Had to dream big. Had to look beyond my ceiling," her words and piano-cradling melody dance on the breathy and jazz-inclined 'Wings.' But in contrast, she also parades her bravado in the alternate universe of album-standout 'Tainted', where her character's soul is soiled by money and ego, while haunting strings, and delicate piano illuminate the person Simz could easily become if she wasn't so self-aware.

Through ten booming orchestral tracks, A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons is a much-needed self-defensive assault on the industry. On labels. On genre and gender norms. On materialism. On blinding ego. On expectation. On the box so many people have attempted to put her in. So don't refer to Little Simz as a female rapper. Just call her king.

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