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Public Warning

She’s as potty-mouthed as Peaches and boasts the Streets smarts of Mike Skinner – she is Lady Sovereign and on Public Warning she’s chavin’ it large.

Rating: 8 / 10

Francis Jones, 12 Feb 2007



She’s as potty-mouthed as Peaches and boasts the Streets smarts of Mike Skinner – she is Lady Sovereign and on Public Warning she’s chavin’ it large.

Sov, real name Louise Harman, is an acerbic grimester, and her mission is to “bring a bit of gutter”. This North London MC, under the patronage of Jay-Z no less, has already put her grubby paw-prints all over America, dueting with Missy and scoring a US Top 50 album with this record. It’s somewhat surprising when you consider her Anglo-centric patois, with references to everything from Katie Price’s boobs and “the ginge out of Girls Aloud” to CBeebies and Safeways. Regardless, now it’s time for the rest of the world to feel the lash of the pint-sized preacher’s tongue.

The lyrics here are a lacerating mix of blue collar bile and blue language, little Lady Muck simultaneously waging class and crass warfare. For a self-professed midget, Sovereign has a mammoth ego: just listen to ‘Random’, a tough talking boom-box odyssey with the deliciously braggart payoff: “I’m dropping lyrics like a hoe dropping knickers/I’m old school like Marathon prior to Snickers”. In Sov’s possession, language is a weapon; you laugh guiltily, but sympathise with the subject of the scathing ‘Tango’: “You tried to be Christina, so you died your hair black/But really you look like the Vicar of Dibley, what, on crack”. The state-of-the-nation address, ‘My England’, finds the tiny terror spitting hard consonants over savvy, rat-a-tat beats, shattering misconceptions and showing us the reality of her world.

Good things really do come in small packages.
Rating: 8 / 10

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