Little Simz

No Thank You

Forever Living Originals • 2023

The term »quiet quitting« describes an employee’s unwillingness to work excessively and to preserve their own freedom. Little Simz’s »No Thank You« was released digitally as a surprise release two weeks before Christmas 2022 without any fanfare, and in this timing alone represents a kind of quiet quitting in the face of fan and industry expectations. The now canonised »Sometimes I Might Be Introvert« from 2021 is juxtaposed with a rap prodigy who is considered to be an excellent all-rounder, and a stripped back album of soulful rap that owes more to Roots Manuva than Central Cee. Once again, producer Inflo has used samples of boom-bap and neo-soul in the subdominant as a subtle backdrop, which Simz uses both skilfully and playfully to find the yes in the no.  

On one key track, the organ flip »Heart On Fire«, she expresses the realisation that she has been let down: »Tell me what you came for/ Wanted better days and now you’re runnin’ away from that very thing you prayed for«. Little Simz does not follow an algorithm, but rather her heart. Even on »SIMBI«, the journey into the self is a mirror of socio-cultural observations. »Broken«, for example, spends seven and a half minutes (!) revealing the sorrow suffered by the silent: »It shouldn’t be a norm to live your life as a tragedy«. »Don’t get lost in the sauce«, she sings on »No Merci«; in every rejection there is also an affirmation. »No Thank You« therefore feels like the end of a trilogy, similar to the key phases of ATCQ or Kendrick Lamar. An album about the lightness of saying »no«.