Lady Sovereign

Public Warning
(Def Jam)

Lady Sovereign may not seem as revolutionary as the last great British hip-hop export, M.I.A. In fact, at times, her record feels a bit like M.I.A. and Dizzee Rascal sitting down to tea. But it's the pintsize rapper's cheeky personality that ultimately matters here (although the quirky synth hooks certainly don't hurt). For one, she's really funny, "getting pissed like Pampers," "huge, like Katie Price's boobs," and distancing her England from the Jolly Old variety in a track that notes "It ain't about tea and biscuits," "police carry guns, not truncheons," she does not watch Antiques Roadshow or the changing of the guard. But her rhyming is more than infectious and wickedly funny; it's also really fast, especially on tracks where she pushes the dancehall toasting angle. The TRL single to beat is still "Love Me or Hate Me," for obvious reasons. And it's just as irresistible a second time, as remixed with a smile-inducing guest rap from the desk of Missy Elliott. But any number of the songs here could — and should — be hits, from the electro-flavored "Public Warning" to her fashion-bashing "Hoodie," one of several early U.K. hits included here.

 
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