Lady Sovereign Vertically Challenged

For anyone who’s ever seen the size of the First Lady of Grime, the title of this EP shows just how droll and, yes, short this UK MC is (five-feet one inch, if you’re wondering). Beginning her career in her bedroom at the age of 15, the now 19-year-old Lady Sovereign (born Louise Harman in Wembley, North London) has made a name for herself in the grime scene overseas thanks to her quick wit, hook-filled choruses, wandering musical tastes, and the inclusion on this year’s essential Run the Road comp. Though she’s released some twelve-inch singles, Sov’s found her popularity through downloading, which will make this official debut old news to a lot of her followers; however, it does work beautifully as a proper comp for everyone else. The pop sheen of "Ch Ching” and the anthemic "Random” are untouchable singles that display her gift for gabbing catchy gossipy rhymes. Medasyn’s production on "A Little Bit of Shhh” is the most traditional grime moment, and "The Battle” finds her teaming up to spit with Shystie for a "girls versus boys” free for all. Some songs are missing, like "9 to 5” and the recent Basement Jaxx-produced "Hoodie” (see Front Five for more details), which could have raised the exclusivity of the music a little. But maybe that’s all put in storage for her forthcoming debut full-length, Public Warning, expected in the spring on Def Jam (thanks to Jay-Z’s A&R work). Regardless, this is a solid intro to one of hip-hop’s most exciting young talents. (Chocolate Industries)