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Little Simz is a force to be reckoned with. At just 21, the Londoner already has an impressive list of achievements – multiple critically acclaimed mixtapes and EPs, heading an independent label, and co-signs from some of today’s hip-hop greats. She’s currently promoting her debut album A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons, which is an exploration of fame, and has cemented her place as one of the spearheads of the resurgence of UK rap. It seems like Simz is already on top of the world but she’s just getting started. Watch this space.

Where does the name Little Simz come from?

Well my name is Simbi, so Simz is just kind of an abbreviation of that. At the time I got the name I was very small. I was like the odd one out, the little awkward one. I had my growth spurt and I still had the name so I just did that.

How important do you think it is to visualise your path as an artist?

I think it’s very important to visualise yourself at a certain place, and try and head towards that or just have a goal that you’re working towards, and kind of stick at that. But then I wouldn’t say to just live in the future because you have to be in the present as well.

Tell me a little bit about your group Space Age?

First and foremost it’s just a group of friends. We all kind of grew up in the same area, we all are interested in the same things, and it’s just the foundation for support.

What kind of music did you grow up listening to?

I definitely was put on to a lot of Missy Elliott when I was young.

If there was a dimension where Simz had an ordinary job what would you be doing?

I think I’d get into teaching.

Tell me a little bit about the artwork for your latest album A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons? It’s very interesting.

It’s made by a guy called Gui Soares, he’s from Brazil and he done all the artwork for each one of my EPs, the DROPs. When we did the album I just wanted it to be kind of classic, in terms of just keeping it in black and white, but then it’s also influenced by the story behind the album, the misconception, I wanted to make that known in the artwork. So you can see the crown, the skeleton on stage, you see the cameras, and lights, and stuff. They all make sense with what I talk about on the album.

Do you see yourself delving into the production side of things?
Yes, definitely.

How does it make you feel when people call you a “female rapper”?

I feel like it really puts me in a box, and it just allows people to judge me before they even listen to what I have to say, I just don’t really like the idea of it, to be honest. I don’t really put myself in any kind of boxes or categories so I don’t think other people should.

Is this what you envisioned you’d be doing at age 21?

Um, no. It’s kind of weird, when I was younger I always had a dream to be doing what I’m doing but I didn’t expect it to happen like this, which is a crazy thing, but I feel like the best things happen unplanned. So it was just meant to be.

Any other projects you’re currently working on that you’d like to talk about?

Nah man, just the album for now. Got an EP in the works for next year, but just this album right now.

I’ve noticed that you’ve worked with another UK rapper that’s on the fast come up, Stormzy. How did you get into the working relationship with him?

I just kind of met him on many occasions and we just kind of always talked about working and I really like realness. His tone, energy, what he says, it’s just so raw and I love that. He’s one of those people that I just generally respect as a human being; he’s just such a nice person.

Little Simz – A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons is available now.

Interview by Jarman Cutrona