Jay-Z's most recent signee to Def Jam, Lady Sovereign knocks out a legitimate spot on the roster with Public Warning. Bringing the gutter and grime of the London projects where she was raised, Sov skips the sexiness that other female rappers often try to amplify and use to their advantage and instead goes for tough, sassy, tongue-in-cheek lyrics that leave no doubt she's very independent and very much in control. With a flow closer to Busta Rhymes' than Eminem's (the latter to whom she receives frequent and generally mistaken comparisons), Sov is confident and relaxed behind the mic, and though her lines occasionally stumble (the chorus in "Tango"), and she sometimes seems very young (as in "Those Were The Days" you can't reminisce about childhood when you're barely out of your teens), she more than makes up for it with quick, witty rhymes and an unabashed fuck-you attitude. ("Writing up more lines than Burberry and dealing with beats like a victim of a bully," she spits in "Blah Blah.") Add that to the album's production (handled mostly by UK grime vet Medasyn) which, dirty and splintered, coats everything with a grungy urban groove that complements the Lady perfectly, and Public Warning is a pretty impressive first effort.
Marisa Brown writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.