Lady Sovereign :: Vertically Challenged EP :: Chocolate Industries
as reviewed by Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez

Much buzz has been forming around UK emcee Lady Sovereign in recent weeks. Rumors of an impending release on either Def Jam or Jay-Z's Roc-A-Fella have spurred a growing interest in her previous work. But before any unconfirmed major label releases occur, Sovereign has decided to release an EP stateside to give fans a taste of what they can expect. Lady Sovereign isn't your typical rapper. By this I mean that influences from the UK make her style one not usually associated with rap music. Her accent coupled with her relatively fast-flow actually make her style more akin to dancehall reggae than rap. Her beats are also different as the fast paced and mostly electronic backdrops she raps on aren't usually found on rap albums. While different isn't necessarily bad, Sovereign may have a hard time connecting with U.S. audiences unless she changes her style a bit.

Only eight tracks deep, Sovereign's debut EP provides little that will appeal to rap fans stateside. The lead single, "Random," is a fast paced dance anthem that has more in common with electronica than Hip-Hop. The lyrics themselves also fail to surpass your typical party lyrics:

"Everybody in the club getting' tipsy
Oh fuck dat, just whine like a gypsy
Can't see straight, like I got one eye (pop)
Your bottle opener or mine
Let's... get started,
Move ya arms round like fucked up karate
Ooh shit... my word plays nasty
Ooh shit... don't put it past me
Move bitch get out da... way
Ah, nuff of dat I'm here to stay...
Flow lazy.. pick da pace up when I flow less hazy
J-Lo's got a batty
Well you can't see mine cause I wear my trousers baggy
Anyways.. yeah, let's... commence..."

The only notable thing about her flow is the fact that she can spit relatively quick. To be honest, not being familiar with the scene in the UK I'm not too sure what Sovereign's style is. The word "grime" gets thrown around, but Sovereign herself denies she is "grime." The only act she could be compared to would possibly recent UK sensation, M.I.A., which isn't a compliment. While Sovereign gets credit for making sense, something which M.I.A.'s mindless ramblings can't claim, musically they match up pretty well.

Lyrically, Sovereign isn't impressive. Her flow is definitely on point, though not being from the UK her accent can get annoying. But as far as her verses go, she does nothing to separate herself from any other female emcee out. Her flow itself could probably be enough to get some heads to peep her, but her hard to understand accent and fast-paced beats would probably keep her from being too appealing to American fans. "Random" and "Cha Ching" are decent party efforts, but the rest of the album is just average, especially considering three of the eight tracks are remixes of songs also on the EP. "Fiddle With The Volume" seems to use a sudden drop in sound level as a gimmick, but it's just annoying having to turn up the volume in the middle of the EP. "The Battle" is supposed to be a posse cut, but clocking in at eight minutes and with a repetitive beat it gets old quick.

With all that said, Sovereign definitely has a lot of things going for her that could make her a hit in the U.S., but just not to the Hip-Hop crowd. Some people may take this the wrong way, but being a White teenage female will probably work greatly in her favor. There is a huge market for teenage pop acts, and her skin color would only expand her fan base as girls would see someone like them doing "hip-hop" music. I wouldn't go as far as calling her style rap, but it's closely akin. I'm definitely not trying to imply that her demographics are the only reason she'll get fans, she definitely has some talent, but the hype surrounding her tends to be because of who she is and where she's from and not because of mind blowing skills.

Music Vibes: 5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 5 of 10

Originally posted: November 15, 2005