19 Jul 2024

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Big Sima - EP Review: Early In The Peace

06 Jun 2024 // A review by Peter K Malthus

The Underground King, AKA Big Sima, has just released a new EP in collaboration with Boomtown, a follow-up to 2022's full length album, Stereotypes Of A Polynesian Misunderstood. Big Sima has been relentlessly busy making a name for himself over the last few years, and that work ethic has seen him win support slots for Busta Rhymes, Bone Thugs 'n’ Harmony, Guru (Gangstarr), Mobb Deep and Cypress Hill. He has also enjoyed guest appearances with Dolphin Friendly, Summer Thieves, and the mighty Tiki Taane, appearing alongside the latter in his award-winning documentary, Tiki Taane In Session With CSO

Collaboration is certainly the name of the game on this EP, Early In The Peace, with production credits going to Lee Prebble, Thom O'Connor, and DJ Nazarite. First track Growth features an outro by talented Otautahi-based Neo Soul vocalist, Tay Renee, and also features saxophonist Theo Hertzig and beats by DJ Nazarite. The opening bars of Growth reminded me of De La Soul, in an excellent way, and I was immediately enraptured by the fantastic lyrical flow. For me, masterful lyrical flow is what separates good hip-hop from bad, and for my money, it simply doesn't get any better than this. Growth is an anthem of strength and positivity, with a chorus that has me utterly hooked, the superb singing voices adding contrast to the spoken word delivery. Tay Renee's beautiful contribution brings the song to a close.

Second track Aotearoa, featuring Emile McKenzie, has a tasty intro courtesy of some slinky guitar and subdued keys, soon joined by silky smooth vocals. The chorus is another that's all hook, simply the title sung repeatedly, with fire and passion. A song of adoration, and of hope. Emile McKenzie also guests on Pluto, which kicks off with some deliciously phaser-washed guitar, sliding into an upbeat, danceable groove. That magnificent lyrical flow is once again ably demonstrated, with yet another hook-riddled chorus. A playful sax and trumpet back-and-forth play off transitions into a beautiful harmony that sees the song to its end.

The next song, Damn, is the only one to not feature a guest vocalist. Overall I'm strongly reminded of Salmonella Dub by the feel of this one, with its dub-like feel, and again I'm struck by the extreme hookiness of the chorus, and the flow... apologies for harping on about it, but it really is that good. Final track Gone By Morning again features Emile McKenzie, a sweetly smooth guitar/keys/vocal intro leads into the most chilled-out and mellow of the five tracks. This song flows like liquid caramel, the kind of song that's a perfect soundtrack for moving 'Netflix & chill' into the next, more bedroom-orientated phase. An excellent light mood, to round out this splendid musical offering.

Big Sima & Boomtown will be touring throughout August, visiting Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Wanaka, and Queenstown, to promote Early In The Peace. Make sure you get tickets nice and early, this will be one tour not to be missed.


About Big Sima

Currently one of the most active NZ hip-hop artists on the live circuit, The Underground King AKA Big Sima is no stranger to the big stage. During his come-up he has played support for everyone from Busta Rhymes to Bone Thugs 'n’ Harmony, Guru (Gangstarr), Mobb Deep and Cypress Hill. His stage presence and overall performance acumen can only be matched by the sonic value of the beat-bumping, bass-box booming mixes courtesy of longtime friend and fellow collaborator Tiki Taane. After 4 years of hard mahi together at Tiki Dub Solar Powered Studios in sunny Papamoa it seems the duo have finally zeroed in on the completion of Sima's debut LP, aptly named Stereotypes Of A Polynesian Misunderstood. This is a certified classic in the making - unlike many other rap albums that just throw together songs, this a complete body of work. Set for release May 30th, this is indeed Big Sima's 'magnum opus'. After 4 successful single releases thus far, over 500k streams across all platforms and 1000s of spins on radio stations up and down the country, the most recent release Truth has made it into the top 10 on the Hot NZ Singles Chart and Top 20 songs most added to radio in the country. These are epic feats for an independent hip hop artist in Aotearoa.

The last two years have been exceptionally busy on the live front; with guest appearances on stage with both Summer Thieves and Dolphin Friendly, as well a special bucket list performance of 'Revolutionaires' alongside Tiki Taane and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra at the town hall for ‘Otautahi Proud.’ As well as those notable guest appearances, Big Sima also started picking up momentum on the festival circuit with performances at Go Live, Summer Sounds and Soundsplash.

Big Sima is back in 2022 with a new album & a new band, but the team, the dream and the work ethic still remains the same, expect big things!

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Big Sima


Early In The Peace
Year: 2024
Type: EP

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