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Make way for the S.O.V.

Lady Sovereign’s debut Public Warning dropped on Halloween [1] and she’s currently doing the press rounds hyping it. I finally had a chance to give it a good listen this weekend and I have to admit that I kinda like it. (Then again, I like grime, international rap, and female emcees. I especially like British hip-hop.[2]) And call me crazy, but I can’t help but give props to any woman in hip-hop that gets on without shaking her money-maker and spitting rhymes about oral sex. I’m just saying.

I can’t imagine many in hip-hop share this view, though. [3] Is hip-hop really ready for a pint-sized, scrappy chick from across the pond that raps with a thick cockney accent about Shepherd’s Pie and biting her nails? [4] I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest not. Even if she is cosigned by King Jay-Z himself.

The press has been touting Sov as the next Eminem—even going so far as to call her The Real Slim Lady—I suppose because she’s a decent rapper, comes from white working-class roots, is a little rough around the edges (she dropped out of school at fourteen), and leans toward self-deprecating humor. But Sov lacks some of the key qualities that made Marshall what he is, namely the grounding in American pop culture, the hood endorsement, the penchant for controversy, and the emotional punch.

Without all that, what’s left? The answer is gimmick rap. And the Biggest Midget in the Game is definitely in danger of falling into that category.

One has to wonder who exactly is supposed to be her audience in the U.S. The streets? I’m guessing no. The backpackers? Nope. Not righteous enough for those dudes. Plus, they can’t stand women. The hipsters? Not unless she suddenly professes to cook crack and starts sporting grills.

That pretty much just leaves the TRL teeny-bopper crowd, who, as it turns out, buy an awful lot of records. So, basically, we can chalk another one up for Hov.


[1] Not to beat a dead horse, but there’s another album that should have been released that day. All will be forgiven if Hell Hath No Fury actually drops on November 28.

[2] Yep, I like the Streets, Ms. Dynamite, The Mitchell Brothers. All that. But that’s just skimming the surface. If you wanna know what’s going down in London, check out my girl Hattie Collins’ blog. I also read Chantelle Fiddy.

[3] Being that I love bad music and all.

[4] By the way, I cook a mean Shepherd’s Pie. Ask around.

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