The hip-hop world never ceases to amaze me. Itís really incredible how many no-talent hacks break into the genre every year. Sure, you could say the same thing about almost any other type of music out there, but if you suck elsewhere, at least you (usually) arenít met with commercial success. Unfortunately, this isnít really true for rap. Itís kind of funny how even the most hardcore hip-hop aficionados can ignore that which makes rap music good, simply in favor of whatís new. Well, letís put it this way: an awful lot of those hardcore gangsta-rap types are going to be shown up very soon. By a five foot one, twenty-something, lily-white British lady by the name of Louise Harman. The world, however, knows her as Lady Sovereign. Oh, and before I go on, let me make one thing clear: Jay-Z
likes her. He actually liked her enough to give her a record deal. That means something; trust me on this one.
Lady Sovereign has been making quite a name for herself across the pond. Sheís already an established grind MC over in jolly-old England. Grime, in case you were wondering, is an aggressive style of hip-hop, combining styles of garage dance and electronic music, with hyper-fast wordplay. Itís an impressive arm of hip-hop, one thatís always interesting to listen to. Enter Lady Sovereign. Well, the ďWhite Midget" as she is commonly known as has pretty much conquered the grime world. And now sheís set to conquer the world period (as in planet Earth, you feel me?). It certainly helps that Lady Sovereign has drawn comparisons to another Caucasian rap-sensation: Eminem
. ďFeminem?" Sure, as derogatory as that may seem, you could aptly sum her up that way. You could, at least, if the two were anything alike. Slim Shady and the White Midgetís similarities pretty much end at skin color.
With Vertically Challenged
a listener gets a frustratingly tiny taste of what Lady Sovereign is actually capable of. You see, itís an EP of eight songs. Unfortunately for us, the album really only has five songs on it, minus the remixes. On the whole, though, Vertically Challenged
is an extremely polished package. Lady Sovereign proves to be a surprisingly talented vocalist; one that raps really, really fast. Really. Her cohorts on the EP, Frost P
, among others further serve to accentuate the incredibly textured, yet speedy aspects of Vertically Challenged
. Not only does Lady Sovereigns light-speed delivery put the sluggish drawls of hip-hop chart toppers such as Mike Jones
to shame, it also makes her music fun to listen to. Everything from the self-proclaiming ďRandom" to the eclectic ďFiddle With The Volume," to the intense near-eight minute epic of ďThe Battle," Vertically Challenged
covers all the basics for making enjoyable rap music. Speaking of the music, the instrumentation and samplings to be found on this EP are pretty nice as well. You wonít find any irksome repetition here. This is actually rather refreshing.
is dragged down in only one real aspect: it tends to outrace itself. Sure, itís nice that the music is fast and upbeat, but not when you canít even understand what anyoneĎs saying. Thatís somewhat disappointing, since the lyrical content on Vertically Challenged
is of exceedingly high quality. Also, Lady Sovereign herself isnít quite perfect. At times, her voice becomes just a little too high-pitched for its own good, making for a nasally sound that can grate on the nerves. One of the final gripes that you can draw against Vertically Challenged
is its overall lack of content. Remixes are cool and all, but couldnít you have knocked one or two of them off in favor of some of your other, better tracks, my lady? Nobody wants to listen to three songs twice on an album, especially if the remixed donít make them radically different.
Lady Sovereign manages to impress with Vertically Challenged
. The EP manages to showcase a portion of her potential quite handily. While itís far from perfect, itís a worthy purchase or download for anyone looking for a fun listen. 2006 will be a big year for this young lady: she has another EP and a full-length album on the way. Keep your ears open for Lady Sovereign, because sheís going to be making some noise. I expect great things from her in the very near future. And you know what? I donít think Iím going to be disappointed.