“The game has it’s way of tainting people, and maybe she got tainted. I don’t know, I don’t like to talk about it,” Stormzy seems shook when speaking about Little Simz’ ‘Dead Body’ in the North Londoner’s short film A Curious Tale Of Trials + Persons: The True Story. As Simz stares stardom dead in the face with her debut LP, perhaps Stormzy – still yet to release a full-length record – is worried that he might be next. More likely though, it’s an intentional blur of the lines between fiction and reality; a device Simz likes to use to heighten the truth. It’s something to think about, and that’s the main thing the 21-year-old hopes to achieve from her listeners.
On A Curious Tale Of Trials + Persons Simz adopts multiple personas and perspectives in order to challenge perceptions and deliver her points in a vividly relatable way. On ‘Tainted’ we hear her singing her own praises and chasing money over love; it’s the person that we might have found ourselves talking to today, had she not nipped it in the bud. The track showcases the person she hopes never to become, and yet she caught the character slipping out accidentally one day in a studio session. “When I first started writing it, I was actually writing that as me,” she admits. “But then I thought ‘Rah! Is this what I’m talking about now? Nah, this can’t be what I want. I’m not really feeling that.’” She decided to take it to almost parodical levels, pouring in the braggadocio and taking a poke at the substance-lacking output that often comes coupled with fame and fortune. “I needed to speak upon that character because I know my life is headed in that direction and this is normally the person that famous people turn into. They started with a lot of substance and ended with nothing, and that’s not the person I want to become, or the person I look forward to ever meeting in the future.”
Juggling different characters was a concern for Simz initially, if the listener doesn’t do their part in figuring out the alternate perspectives they could well think that she is lost, or even worse, follow the influence of their twisted wire. Her ‘Dead Body’ video – the first to surface from the album – shows Simz dragging a corpse through the desert. It was criticised by some for being too dark, but they’d failed to hear it in the intended context. “When I was making ‘Dead Body’ I was just thinking ‘I know this is going to start some shit but I’m cool with that,’” she remarks. “Because if anyone ever asks me I know my reasons behind that, I know that I wrote it from the perspective of a homeless man. Not everything said, people should take from face value, there’s a deeper meaning behind it. In the video where I’m dragging the corpse, that’s me getting rid of my demons, my flaws and my imperfections,” she pauses, adding. “It would be different if I’m just talking and there’s no meaning or no truth behind it.”