Lady Sovereign performs Wednesday, November 22, at the Gypsy Tea Room.
Lady Sovereign is either rap music's salvation or another commercially crafted nail in hip-hop's coffin. We suppose she could be both. Are the beats funky, fresh and/or fly? Yes, thanks to Basement Jaxx's expert production, the S-O-V has been armed with an arsenal of bass-heavy UK garage grime and funky bubblegum blips that sound like break-dancing robots playing laser-guided Ping-Pong. Is she marketable? Holy crap, yes. But most important, can this 20-year-old white girl from England rhyme worth a quid? Well, she can battle with the best of 'em, even though her lyrical targets are chicks with fake tans (“Tango”) and other such fashion casualties (“Hoodie” ). But you write what you know, whether it’s trying to maintain the level of chaos at a house party (“Gatheration”), sleeping in on a workday (“9 to 5 ”) or just goofing around (“Random”). Even when falling back on the ol' chestnut of the hometown shout-out (“My England”) or pointless nostalgia (“Those Were the Days”), Sovereign’s skill and grace as a lyricist and rhyme-spitter are pretty strong. Then again, her accent is so thick and she throws around so much limey slang that half the time we have no idea what is coming out of her mouth. But you could say the same thing about some of the best stateside rappers too.