Sovereign can still stand proud as one of Chalk Hill housing estate's best exports.
Elle J Small 2009
England’s self-professed 'biggest midget in the game' returns to the leftfield rap arena with her third album and third label- this time on her terms. With Lady Sovereign herself taking the reigns of the A&R, marketing and promotion machine, the result is eccentric, contagious and all hers.
Back in the studio with long-time producer/mate Medasyn, Lady Sovereign (AKA 23-year-old Louise Harman) delivers her signature, quirky raps without the angst of yesteryear. Seemingly in a happier place, LS has replaced her previous grime-inspired, darker sound with more uplifting beats.
Opening with slow but sure grower Let's Be Mates, Sovereign goes all Tetris on us with computer game-inspired bleeps and bass. ''I’m weird and you're weird/ Let's be mates'', raps LS before launching in to a crisp delivery of her love of monkeys, boogaloo and side-partings.
Sampling The Cure's 80s masterpiece Close To Me, LS has struck gold with So Human. No doubt, Cure purists will feel insulted and shout ''butcher!'' at the five foot short rapper. Still, no reaction is a bad reaction.
A rare insight in to the softer side of Sovereign comes in the form of album title track Jigsaw. ''My heart is like a jigsaw puzzle/ Pick it up and fix it for me'', opens LS over a slow, orchestrated beat, before waxing lyrical about her destructive ways, ''So I'm smoking like a chim-a-ney/ I feel f*cked up/ Got too much drink in-a-me''.
Exploring hip hop, indie and pop all in one huge and humorous melting pot, Lady Sovereign continues with killer cuts Bang Bang, Pennies and Guitar: all complete with genius hooks. Sadly, Sovereign's final three delve in to filler territory, with Student Union, Food Play and I Got The Goods sounding like unfinished prototypes.
While the weight of this LP's release will fall firmly on her shoulders, LS should be proud of both her new deal (her Midget label will be distributed by major EMI) and sound. Once signed by Jay-Z himself to Def Jam, then consequently dropped, Sovereign can still stand proud as one of Chalk Hill housing estate's best exports.