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Little Simz On Maturity In Latest Album

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

For rapper Simbiatu Ajikawo, also known as Little Simz, being center stage is nothing new. At 27 years old, she's been in entertainment for most of her life. She was a child actor, did some musical theater and eventually found rap. And it stuck.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "INTROVERT")

LITTLE SIMZ: (Rapping) The kingdom's on fire, the blood of a young messiah. I see sinners in a church. I see sinners in a church. Sometimes I might be introvert. There's a war inside. I hear battle cries.

MARTIN: Simbi, as she likes to be called, was born in North London to Nigerian parents and is the youngest of four siblings. She has co-signs signs from some of the industry's greats like Kendrick Lamar, Andre 3000 and Lauryn Hill. Now, Little Simz is out with her fourth studio album, "Sometimes I Might Be Introvert."

LITTLE SIMZ: I think, because of what I do, I'm forced to use a lot of my extroverted qualities that when I'm onstage or if I let a camera or whatever it is, so when I'm not, I kind of just revert back to my introverted state. And that's, I guess, where the theme of the album came from.

MARTIN: Little Simz treats this album like an open therapy session, talking candidly about anxiety that comes with fame, the future of her career and family issues. Take her song "I Love You, I Hate You" about her father who's been absent most of her life.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I LOVE YOU, I HATE YOU")

LITTLE SIMZ: (Rapping) I'm amazed by it. Lying to myself, pretending I was never phased by it. Maybe 'cause you're in my DNA, that's why.

UNIDENTIFIED MUSICAL ARTIST: (Singing) I love you. I hate you.

LITTLE SIMZ: I felt now was the right time to put the song out because I felt like I could approach the situation just with a bit more maturity and just with a bit more perspective and understanding towards a situation as opposed to it coming from an angry place, you know.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I LOVE YOU, I HATE YOU")

LITTLE SIMZ: (Rapping) You made the promise to God to be there for your kids. You made a promise to give them a life you didn't live. My ego won't fully allow me to say that I miss you, a woman who hasn't confronted all her daddy issues.

MARTIN: Where her father has been absent in her life, Little Simz says her mother has always been there for her.

LITTLE SIMZ: I think she set an amazing example for all of us and everyone around her. She's just - will do anything for her kids and came to London, like, on a whim, like - do you know? - and just tried to offer her kids a better life.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "POINT AND KILL")

OBONGJAYAR: (Singing) I do what I want. I do as I like. I no watch face. I no fear nobody.

LITTLE SIMZ: She called me today just saying she's so proud 'cause she was in my latest video, "Point And Kill," and all her friends have seen it. She's getting loads of messages and is very excited.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "POINT AND KILL")

LITTLE SIMZ: (Rapping) Daddy say he want me to be a lawyer, abi doctor. Riff raff, kiddi cohn, window shopper. Oya fine boy, take away auntie. Bougie, eleyi, o wa fancy. When I see it, I point and kill.

She's always, like, wanted me to put her in a video, in every single video. She's like, can I be in it? Can I be in it? I'm like, mom, I'll put you in videos when it makes sense. I'm not just going to make you make an appearance in every video. But this one, it made sense. It made sense. She loved the song. We shot it in Nigeria, which is where I'm from. So it made sense for her to be in.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "POINT AND KILL")

LITTLE SIMZ: (Rapping) Mommy say I got to be a go-go-getter. Got the devil trying to tempt me, but I know better. Never been the type...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MISUNDERSTOOD")

LITTLE SIMZ: (Singing) Don't stop. I can feel your pain. I can see your tears. So misunderstood.

This song is called Misunderstood. It's the last song of my album.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MISUNDERSTOOD")

LITTLE SIMZ: (Rapping) I don't want to be up, I been down for days. Laying in my misery, hoping I'll be saved. Stuck in my ways, stubborn, I know it can't be changed. Living in isolation, attention I never crave. There go little Simbi from around the way. She wanted the credibility, never cared for fame. While the palette fades, release the colors of pain. It's a black and white world, still in the area gray.

I know, like, so many people who have complex relationships with a sibling. It's just like in "I Love You, I Hate You," really. It's like families are complex, so I think it's something that people can relate to.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MISUNDERSTOOD")

LITTLE SIMZ: (Rapping) I probably let my anger get the best of me. When it comes to family, see now you're testing me. You want my everything until there's nothing left of me. I just wanted you to call me saying, hey, sis, how's your day been? How's your love life? Who you dating? Oh, he - girl, I had the same thing. But there's a bigger picture God is painting. It's hard mixing family and business. I really wanted it to work, and God is my witness. So misunderstood.

I think it's just like me wanting to - just that last bit of juice that I've got in me where I want to get everything off my chest. That's what "Misunderstood" is. It's just me continuing to express myself for the last time before closing the album out.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MISUNDERSTOOD")

LITTLE SIMZ: (Singing) So misunderstood. You're misunderstood.

MARTIN: That was Little Simz talking to us about her latest album, "Sometimes I Might Be Introvert." Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.