Just months after her Mercury Prize win for Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, Simbiatu Ajikawo goes from strength to strength as one of rap’s essential voices Prestigious as it is, winning the Mercury Prize has become a poisoned chalice for several artists since its ’90s inception. The pressure mounts: how will the artist grow and develop after this ringing endorsement from the British music industry? In the case of Little Simz the answer has come remarkably quickly, and she is sticking to familiar aesthetics but going from strength to strength on the unexpected and decidedly un-Christmassy No Thank You. Nigh on every verse has stand-out lines about empowerment, creative independence and inner contentment, whether it's the fiery kiss-off to corporates on No Merci ("you ain’t in the studio with me, but want commission / and if I wanna release my art, I need permission") or Simz's powerful testimony on mental health that characterises Broken.
One day you'll love my pain.
On the 1st of November this year, British collective SAULT released five goddamn albums in one day. You may be justified in having missed or overlooked this feat, since the drop was pretty quiet, just a WeTransfer link on their website that contained every album for free before they were later shared to Bandcamp. Don't mistake the humble release format for humble music: the anonymous group's output in this one 24-hour cycle covered their original neo-soul/funk sound (11), progressive and experimental gospel (UNTITLED (God) and Earth), choral classical (AIIR) and, most surprising of all, throwaway garage punk (Today & Tomorrow).