For now, just a small taste of Sov’s sonic onslaught
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RAP has become an increasingly global phenomenon since its birth in New York in the 1970s, but Americans remain stubbornly reluctant to embrace rappers from other countries. Now Britain’s Lady Sovereign has impressed Jay-Z enough for him to sign her to Def Jam Recordings, the legendary rap label he now runs. As she works on her first full-length album, the feisty rapper’s sonically stunning “Vertically Challenged” EP will more than suffice.
It features five of her singles and three rowdy remixes, including a speedy reworking of “A Little Bit of Shhh” by the Beastie Boys’ Ad-Rock that is accented by whistles and a festive organ. Sovereign raps with a sassy, reggae-inspired style over inventive beats that fit well into the U.K.’s grime scene, an aurally punishing rap sub-genre typified by throbbing bass lines, hyperactive drum patterns and whirling, siren-based sound effects.
The aggressive atmosphere creates a potentially overwhelming experience that could linger like an unforgiving headache. Conversely, the music is explosive and innovative and complements Sovereign’s comparatively gentle voice as she playfully incorporates lyrical passages of her American rap counterparts on the propulsive “Random,” and flows aggressively on the hypnotic, boast-heavy “Ch Ching (Cheque 1-2 Remix).”
Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.
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