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.

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[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.

  • the dough

    first

  • e aka the real noreiaga

    I tried giving Lady Soverign a fair chance but I dislike her music. Her lyrics seem corny not witty and her flow is average. She gets way too much mtv video play. And comes off as a snl type parody.

    The only female mc I can listen to is Remy Ma but she has more testosterone than Weezy F.

  • http://myspace.com/legacyhiphop Belize

    Did u see lady S. at that award show last week? How old is she 16? Cuz if so, somedody needs to woop her with a belt (no tyrese)

    p.S. Hook up the food tara!

  • http://straightoutleodis.blogspot.com Analogue

    Sov doesn’t get a lot of love on the UK underground circuit… she’s seen as a pop-grime act and a lot of heads are pissed that she’s seen as representing UK hip-hop.

    I checked the two blogs you mentioned and I can’t see how Hattie Collins is really speaking about London when most of her posts are about the Game, Jay-Z and Pac. Chantelle Fiddy’s blog looks okay though, Shameless MC is worth checking for.

  • http://straightoutleodis.blogspot.com Analogue

    Sov doesn’t get a lot of love on the UK underground circuit… she’s seen as a pop-grime act and a lot of heads are pissed that she’s seen as representing UK hip-hop.

    I checked the two blogs you mentioned and I can’t see how Hattie Collins is really speaking about London when most of her posts are about the Game, Jay-Z and Pac. Chantelle Fiddy’s blog looks okay though, Shameless MC is worth checking for.

  • thoreauly77

    nice post tara. i think youre spot on about the fact that she is on the precipice of falling into gimmick rap; its unfortunate though because i think a lot of that has to do, primarily, with being a female. in my opinion, the streets, dizzee, and roots manuva all rep their respective genres in over-the-pond hiphop while simultaneously maintaining their credibility, so why is lady sov’s in question?

  • http://dronkmunk.blogspot.com dronkmunk

    boring

  • NoMamesBuey

    Tara,

    good article but I disagree with a few points

    Eminem’s attributes for success – you forgot to mention probably the top reason: being a great technical MC, both lyrics & flow

    “backpackers hate women” – if so how does Jean Grae not only have a career, but is on many “best in the underground” or “most underrated MC” type of lists.

  • H-MAN

    Lady S.’s CD iz bangin…I copped it wit out hesitation…chalk that one up in tha win column, tha top feeeelz so much betta then tha bottom…thanx 4 tha good post Tara…hook me up wit a slice of that pie, will ya??? Hell Hath No Fury droppin on my court date…Damn, FREE H-MAN

  • uvf_4_life

    good lookin tara on giving the u.k. a lil light.have to admit u couldve chose a better artist(kano,sway,plan b,klashnekof and so on)funny thing about sov is she got respect when she first popped up but now she became so pop iv never even saw her new video once over here not even channellU.if u really like good british female mcs check out baby blue and pariz1.p.s u the spitting image of minnie driver lol uvf for life

  • INVISIBLE_HAND

    TARA IF U LIKE THAT U GOTTA CHECK OUT DIZZEE RASCAL 1ST ALBUM-BOY IN DA CORNER.I RESIDE IN THE LEFT COAST BUT.GRIME CLASSIC!

  • J S-O-T

    man where’s Plan B, best lyricist iv’ve ever heard to come outts the u.k

  • BlackBoy

    Sov debuted where on the charts first week? I’m sorry but no…. unless you meant another disappointment for Hov.

    This just hasn’t been his year.

  • paid in full

    S.O.V gets no love in the U.K. Im from London and I should know. She is soooo annoying!

  • Bigrollabills

    Tara, you obviously know nothing about good UK music if you’re trying to digitally flog this dead horse to us. Lady Sovereign is wack. Her flow is basic, her lyrics are weak and her whiny voice is annoying. Fuck knows how she got signed and has anybody’s attention Stateside. Eminem comparisons? Please! ‘Cause she’s white?? I hope not. Em is a great lyricist and artist. Sov isn’t, never has been. The 2 blogs you posted up seem to be co-signing the little cracker too. Is this some white girl pride thing? (joke) Someone else said it up top. Hattie Collins just seems to talk about US stuff (her first Cassie cover or The Game or crappy pictures). The other one is half-okay. And don’t forget, we all make mistakes, including the mighty Jiggaman.

  • http://www.chronikill.com ROX ONE

    I dunno, I’m not too into female MC’s in the first place and I heard a couple of god-awful reviews of her live show and how she just refused to rock because there were problems with the sound.

    I dunno though, with ms. dynamite all crippled and shit these days maybe she can ride that.

    ahh Jay-Z, the same man who has been co-signing Bleek for a decade.

  • Sushi K

    “The only female mc I can listen to is Remy Ma but she has more testosterone than Weezy F.”

    ^^^ My vote for quote of the day. P.R.O.P.S.

    Dizzee Rascall is the best British MC I’ve heard. His first album (as pointed out above) was a FIVE STAR CLASSIC. It was mostly home recorded and raw as fuck. Jolly good time indeed. Carry on Dizzee don’t slide away…

    Ms Dynamite had some great “garage” singles prior to being diluted, repackaged and commercialized for major label distribution. Shame (although there is a bit of nicenes left in her still). She could really spit that raggadocious fire!

    As for Lady Sov… haven’t had a chance to check out the album yet. Kinda scared.

  • http://www.myspace.com/creaseburn bigg swingin’ ballz

    chantelle fiddy works for 679 records (kano etc) so bear that in mind

  • BIGNAT

    “I cook a mean Shepherd’s Pie” WHAT THE HELL IS THAT