Independent Islington rapper becomes first to feature on Forbes list
By Alexandra Davis
An Islington rapper has made history by becoming the first independent rap artist to feature in the Forbes “30 under 30 Europe” List.
Simbi Ajikawo, more commonly known as Little Simz, features on the list alongside the likes of Adele, Ed Sheeran, and Harry Potter actress, Emma Watson.
After learning of the accolade, Little Simz said, “I haven’t had time to take it in since I’ve been on tour. But I’m happy, overwhelmed and excited.” She continued, “People think I’ve exceeded expectations but I feel like I can achieve so much – the sky’s the limit.” She described how her family have been “really encouraging and supportive”.
Born in 1994, she first started rapping at the tender age of nine and went on to be educated at Highbury Fields School and Westminster Kingsway College. Little Simz nurtured her talent at the St Mary’s Youth Club in Upper Street, whose alumni include X Factor winners, Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke.
Credit: Youtube – Little Simz
Following the release of four mixtapes and five EPs, she went on to release her debut album, A Curious Tales of Trials + Persons last year aged 20. The album which entered the UK R&B Albums Chart at number 20 was met with critical acclaim, gaining support across the globe even from renowned American rapper Kendrick Lamar. Simz said, “It took Kendrick Lamar to notice me before more people started to respect me.”
Despite currently being an unsigned artist, she insisted this only helped her fulfill her potential, “By not being signed I care about the things business people don’t care about. If I was signed I would be frustrated. I would be a pain to work with.”
Simz has strong opinions on the male-dominated rap industry though as she stated, “Females should do this, females should do that – I don’t buy that. The only way we move on is if we acknowledge all genders, all backgrounds.”
Simz is an aspiring actress too, having starred in the BBC show Spirit Warriors and E4’s TV Series Youngers.
Little Simz is currently on tour and will perform at the O2 Academy Islington on Tuesday 16th February.