Little Simz calls out music industry exploitation on her surprise new album No Thank You

Little Simz, onstage in Berlin, December 10, 2022
(Image credit: Frank Hoensch/Redferns)

Little Simz has called out the music industry for its exploitation of artists on her newly-released fifth studio album, NO THANK YOU.

The 28-year-old North London rapper announced the imminent arrival of the album, her follow-up to her 2021 Mercury Prize-winning Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, on social media five days ago, accompanying the announcement with a short statement reading:

emotion is energy in motion.
honour your truth and feelings.
eradicate fear.
boundaries are important.”

The 10-track record is produced by the rapper's long-time collaborator, Inflo, leader of the R&B collective Sault, who was acclaimed as the Producer Of The Year at the 2022 Brit Awards, becoming the first black producer to receive the award since the the Brits launched in 1977.

The album's opening track, Angel is dedicated to, and namechecks the rapper's friend model Harry Uzoka, who was  stabbed in the heart by fellow model George Koh in London in January 2018.

Its lyrics find Simz calling out the music industry for its exploitation of artists:

"I can see how an artist can get tainted, frustrated
They don't care if your mental is on the brink of somethin' dark
As long as your cuttin' somebody's payslip
And sendin' their kids to private school in a spaceship
Yeah, I refuse to be on a slave ship
Give me all my masters and lower your wages
Huh, what I'm bringing to the table is more than the feast for the belly of the beast
Didn't know I'm droppin' somethin' heavy for the streets
Fuck the politics, I'm goin' Meghan on you neeks
I need the best seats in the house
When the truth unfolds, it's gonna be one hell of a scene

The singer has previously turned down approaches from major label, telling Music Week, “It always sounds very appealing when you’re being wined and dined and promised things. But I also have friends and peers who are on major labels and I talked to them. It’s not as if they say anything crazy or wild, but I wanted to get all the perspectives. So I don’t actually know what it is to be a signed artist. I mean, I might have it all backwards. I might be missing a trick, but I think I’ve found something that works for me. It’s a lot of hard work, but I’m definitely a stairs person and not on the escalator journey. It’s super-rewarding and I get to do what I want.”

The tracklist for NO THANK YOU is:

1. Angel
2. Gorilla
3. Silhouette
4. No Merci
5. X
6. Heart On Fire
7. Broken
8. Sideways
9. Who Even Cares
10. Control

Listen to NO THANK YOU below:

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.