Little Simz at Glastonbury review – triumphant coronation of a true UK rap great

Estimated read time 3 min read

Last time Little Simz played at Glastonbury, she told a packed-out West Holts crowd that she’d see them next time at the Pyramid stage. It wasn’t an empty threat – over the last decade or so, she’s consistently outdone herself, releasing a string of acclaimed records, including the Mercury prize-winning Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, touring all over the world and staking herself as one of the UK’s strongest rappers both on home turf and further afield. Though she is not at the top of the bill tonight, she has indeed made it to the Pyramid, in the sweet spot before headliners Coldplay.

Despite the scatters of Coldplay T-shirts at the barrier, the packed-out crowd feels absolutely hers. You can tell that from the moment she cheekily addresses everyone with a simple “hello!” in her familiar north London intonation to rapturous applause. For the first few tracks – Silhouette, No Merci, I Love You I Hate You – she performs alone, skipping around the stage in her custom Ed Hardy two-piece, her name embroidered across the chest of her biker jacket. But she holds it down, spitting with impeccable poise and contorting her body with effortless steez over her signature backdrops of swelling strings and syncopated drums. “I need you to understand that you’re witnessing greatness,” she declares. “I say that not with arrogance but with confidence. It took me a while to get to the Pyramid but I’m finally here!”

Revellers enjoy as Little Simz.View image in fullscreen

Across the hour, Little Simz shows off her versatility as a musician. She glides between moving downtempo moments (Introvert, her biting exploration of endemic inequality, is a notable highlight, alongside 101FM, her ode to her home of north London) to raucous club cuts. After the menacing Venom (in which she delivers her quickest, tightest bar), Simz swaggers through Mood Swings and Fever, the trickling baile-funk-inspired numbers from her latest project Drop 7, accompanied by the record’s producer Jakwob and a crew of dancers in shiny silver motorbike helmets. It’s a taste of the rapper’s newer, heavier side and it’s here that the crowd really gets locked in, jumping up and down and putting their hands in the air.

After a foray through the more groovy, mellifluous end of her discography, like the R&B-adjacent Selfish or the summer scorcher Woman (which she dedicates to the girls), she takes in the vast crowd, smiles and cheekily asks if she can play one more. The booming, instantly recognisable trumpets of Gorilla are met with screams. As she spits, “Sim Simma, who’s got the keys to my bloodclaat bimmer?”, her take on the classic Beenie Man line, you realise it’s a perfect closer that embodies all of her strongest qualities: tight, razor-sharp and assertive.

Smashing a Pyramid set is a triumph for Little Simz, and it is a real joy to see her look so gassed. “I’m having the best time of my life up here, I swear,” she says, tears gathering in her eyes. “Thank you for honestly making this one of the highlights of my career, my life.” But, as always, she shows no signs of stopping here. Maybe next time she’ll be headlining.


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