Lady Sovereign
Vertically Challenged



by Hep Kat USER (121 Reviews)
July 12th, 2006 | 14 replies

Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

The hip-hop world never ceases to amaze me. It’s 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) aren’t met with commercial success. Unfortunately, this isn’t really true for rap. It’s kind of funny how even the most hardcore hip-hop aficionados can ignore that which makes rap music good, simply in favor of what’s new. Well, let’s 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. She’s 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. It’s an impressive arm of hip-hop, one that’s always interesting to listen to. Enter Lady Sovereign. Well, the “White Midget” as she is commonly known as has pretty much conquered the grime world. And now she’s 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. “Feminem"” 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 Midget’s 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, it’s 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, Adrock, 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 and T.I. to shame, it also makes her music fun to listen to. Everything from the self-proclaiming “Random” to the eclectic “Fiddle With The Volume,” to the intense near-eight minute epic of “The 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 won’t find any irksome repetition here. This is actually rather refreshing.

Vertically Challenged is dragged down in only one real aspect: it tends to outrace itself. Sure, it’s nice that the music is fast and upbeat, but not when you can’t even understand what anyone‘s saying. That’s somewhat disappointing, since the lyrical content on Vertically Challenged is of exceedingly high quality. Also, Lady Sovereign herself isn’t 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 couldn’t 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 don’t 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 it’s far from perfect, it’s 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 she’s going to be making some noise. I expect great things from her in the very near future. And you know what" I don’t think I’m going to be disappointed.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
July 12th 2006


I like. Short and sweet. I also enjoy cake. It is frosty and delectable.

Brain Dead
July 12th 2006


Cake is sweet, man.

July 12th 2006


I don't like cake :/

No. Cake doesn't like you. It will choose you when you're ready.This Message Edited On 07.12.06

July 12th 2006


I like icecream cake.

The Jungler
July 12th 2006


Lady Sovereign is OK, but she gets annoying after more than two listens. Nice job on the review, Hep.

July 12th 2006


Lad sovereign's music is to me better than her lyrics. The same applies to fellow grime rapper Kano. They both have the occasional piece of lyrical genius but to me mostly the music rules. Unfortunately i mainly find lady sovereign annoying in general. Kano however can be quite good.This Message Edited On 07.12.06

July 12th 2006


My dad met Cake at a hotel when he was stuck in Colorado cause he couldn't fly back home because of 9/11

July 12th 2006


I just heard the song "Random" on Midnight Club 3 and couldn't stand it.

Final Origin
July 12th 2006


Album Rating: 1.5

This is just awful, she is awful......

July 13th 2006


I've only heard a few songs by her, and she is one of the most annoying rappers that I have ever seen.

September 11th 2006


Her only song that I have heard, aside from the clip played on the commercial is "Random" which I like, and she also reminds me of the girls from my area and the way they looked and dressed during my first few years of puberty, which might result in my seeing her perform live having an effect comparable to that of a full-friction lap dance from Natalie Portman. I am, however, willing to be proven wrong.

September 11th 2006


", aside from the clip played on the commercial"-aside from the clip played on the U.S. wireless service commercial, is "Random"

September 13th 2006


I've only seen her on TV and in magazines, but never any of her music, just people trying to be down with 'new' hip hop.

Also, you said at the beginning about Jay Z signing her being important, then no more mention? I dont grasp the significance.

September 13th 2006


Yeah, Lady Sovereign is pretty fun, but not much more than that, which I thought was expresed quite well in your review.

The only thing that I would nitpick is mabe your description of grime, which seemed a little bit off. I thought the point of it was for the lyrics to take the foreground, and that the music is all-together less danceable than something like garage? However, i'm not 100% sure myself really, cool review.

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