Little Simz

At twenty-three, British rapper Little Simz has released a combined 11 albums and mixtapes, a furious Lil Wayne-like schedule that has produced as many wonders as it has duds. On her new album, she has created a hip-hop concept based around Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. She plays lightly with the Lewis Carroll story, using it to navigate an uncertain world of romantic relationships and record deals. On the album’s opening track, “LMPD,” she brings in an Auto-Tuned Cheshire Cat, an introspective guest verse from Jamaican dancehall star Chronixx, and her own nimble verses about the anxiety of living up to black female artists from the past: “I’m not the half the woman Maya was/Still I hear the voice of Nina here guiding us.” Bibi Bourelly, the Haitian-German songwriter behind Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money,” shows up on “Bad to the Bone” a boastful bit of U.K. grime. But Little Simz shines best when she takes the spotlight, as in “Shotgun,” in which she bemoans a one-sided relationship: “Got love for you in abundance, never worth a discussion/You entertain interruptions, what’s with you and assumptions?” The album, like much of her work, is delightfully uneven. It could be great, if she would slow down her releases and polish her deeply ambitious songs.