“It's taken me back to that space,” Little Simz tells Apple Music—“it” being the 2020 coronavirus lockdown. “Back to when I was at my mum’s and in my bedroom just doing my thing. I've recorded my albums at proper studios, with engineers, all these things. Then the world stops and that's taken away from you. I've just reminded myself: ‘No, I've been doing this from early. I taught myself Logic [Pro]. I taught myself how to record myself, how to mix. I used to mix my friends' songs. I've been doing this.’” Which is how the North London rapper hurdled self-doubt and quarantine-related creative blocks to arrive at Drop 6. It’s an EP that, in fact, wasn’t part of the 2020 Simz plan. “I was just going to write my next album and go and shoot Top Boy,” she says. “Maybe practice piano, work on a photo book project, you know? Just behind-the-scenes, low-key stuff.” Instead, we get a brave and emotionally charged leap forward—perhaps best captured with the visceral, siren-blaring “might bang, might not” and the stripped-back gratitude on “one life, might live.” “The track titles here are…well, it’s like I’m talking to myself,” she says. “That’s the mode I was in, because I was in isolation. Sometimes you do need to remind yourself: I know now within myself that when everything stops, I can still do what I love regardless.” Here, Simz talks us through Drop 6, track by track.
might bang, might not
“I'm sitting here recording in my house and I'm getting gassed, but I'm alone, you know? I don't know how this is going to go off in the real world. But in my apartment I love it. So I was like, ’This might bang, it might not.' This was produced by Kal Banx. I met him in LA—really, really amazing producer, he’s a part of Dreamville. He was sending me stuff on a certain vibe and then randomly he sent me this one, and I was like, ‘Oh, OK!’ Sometimes when things are weird and different it just gets you up. So I gave it a shot and it worked."
one life, might live
“This is about being grateful. When I think about what life was like for me a year ago, I was on tour, I was living my best life, and I was just having fun with it. I just wanted that song to kind of reflect that. At first I remember we just had the bass and I was rapping over it, then I tried to send it to a few producers to add stuff, to try and add more to it. Eventually I decided to just strip it all the way back and keep it exactly how it was when I first recorded it. Sometimes, I don't know, you lose the magic when you try to overcook it.”
“This is also produced by Kal Banx. I sent it to him, just as a rough demo. He was like, ‘Yeah, you're floating on this. This is cool as fuck.' It's just my time to flex a little. I just want to say some shit. It's not too thought-out. I don't remember really writing my words down on this. It was literally just a vibe. That's why there's not really a hook like that. And it banged. I like it. It's one of my favorite songs off the EP.”
you should call mum
“At first I wasn't actually going to title any of the songs. I was just going to call them 'Track One,' 'Track Two,' 'Track Three,' whatever. I didn't have any of these names, but I was speaking to a friend. He was like, 'Yo, these deserve titles.' I just wanted this EP to be low-key. But as I started going through and really listening, and taking up what my friend said, I knew they needed titles. On this song, I'm pretty much saying how I feel in the present moment, being in isolation. My mum is the one person that's been constantly checking up on me. Constantly like, 'Do you need food? Do you need this?' I guess in those moments of feeling down I remember, yeah, I have a mum that I can just call her and chat to her and she makes me feel at ease and settled.”
where’s my lighter (feat. Alewya)
“Alewya is someone that I met maybe a year ago, a year and a half maybe, through a mutual friend. I just went to see her play at a show in West London, this little underground club, and I just thought she was hard. I thought her whole steez, her whole thing, was sick. I think she’s Ethiopian and Egyptian, and you can hear how she’s rooted from that in her vocal. Some of the runs and the stuff she does, you can't teach someone how to do that shit. You're just born with that. Before the whole lockdown situation, she'd come to my house a couple times with my DJ, OTG, who produced this song, and we just vibed. This is one of the vibes we created. It was so bare. There was nothing to it. She even freestyled that hook, it was just one take. She wanted to record it again and she did, and I was like, 'No, man. The freestyle you done that time when you was just not thinking and it was just off the dome, it's hard,' and that's what we ran with.”