Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Biggest Midget Got The Maddest Skills

Lady Sovereign - I Got You Dancing
Lady Sovereign - So Human

I've completely lost touch with what's going on with UK hip-hop but I have got a massive soft spot for Lady Sovereign, despite the fact she is starting resemble Stacey Slater doing a photo shoot for Dazed & Confused. I wasn't into some of more commercial tracks on her debut album 'Public Warning', but I absolutely love her vocal style and she is a shit hot lyricist. Sov got mad skills, yo. Ahem. Plus being a bit of a labels geek, the fact she had a record out on the ubercool US hip-hop/electronic hybrid label Chocolate Industries gives her extra kudos to me.

Sov's new album, 'Jigsaw' is due to drop soon and in the grand tradition of all business savvy artists these days, it is being released on her own label, Midget, but is being distributed by a major. The first single 'I Got You Dancing' was a pop rap cracker with some awesome hoover noises and Sov busting out the Auto Tune to give it that 'NOW' sound. OK, so it doesn't sound a million miles away from Vicky 'MC Posh' Beckham's two-step collab with Dane Bowers back in the day but it still should have been a huge hit. I don't know how it fared in the hit parade - I stopped looking at the charts when downloads were counted. Yes. I am getting old... The second single 'So Human' makes liberal use of the Cure's 'Close To You' in way which will probably have Goths the world over burning effigies of Sov but works brilliantly. As well as using regular producer Gabriel 'Medasyn' Olegavich she's also worked with Benny Blanco (Britney, Katy Perry) and Dr Luke (Kelis, Leona Lewis) on the album (released in the UK on April 13 2009) which gives the impression that she is looking to crossover properly this time. Best of British Sov.

Medasyn featuring Lady Sovereign, Shystie, Frost P & Zuz Rock - The Battle

But before she went all crossover, Sov used to drop the real shit in dodgy council estates in Hackney. Or plush recording studios in Chiswick, but whatever... I first came across 'The Battle' in demo form under the title 'BoysnGirls' - it was a piss poor recording but had the feel of a real old school mic battle between two male MCs (Frost P and Zuz Rock) and two female MCs (Lady Sovereign and Shystie). It eventually got polished up into the version you can download above, which was released as a single by Ross Allen's Casual label in 2003. The rhymes are pretty much the same but it's lost a lot of the vibe of the original demo, which was recorded live and feels raw and spontaneous. I'd probably say the ladies win the battle, but it's a close run thing. I especially love Frost P's opening verse = boy spits fire. The badass string-heavy beats were knocked up by Medasyn.

Preorder 'Jigsaw' from Amazon
Lady Sovereign website
Lady Sovereign MySpace