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Lady Sovereign 

Jigsaw (Midget/ EMI)

Wednesday, May 20 2009
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White grime rapper Lady Sovereign was the British Asher Roth of 2006, the subject of a tremendous marketing blitz preceding the U.S. release of her debut, Public Warning. As with Roth, there was some question whether the public was ready for her unusual flow. It wasn't. The album didn't catch on in the mainstream, and so on her follow-up, Jigsaw, she goes a ways toward sanitizing her often-caustic sound.

On the first half of the CD she uses accessible beats, such as on the plaintive "So Human," which samples the Cure's "Close to Me." Melodic, crooned hooks help her convey vulnerability on the title track, in which she sings, "My life is like a jigsaw puzzle/Pick it up and fix it for me." But she eventually returns to the electro/dancehall and cheeky taunts she's known for, such as on "Student Union," in which she brags about dropping out of high school and complains about how lame college kids are: "Saw these chicks doing this flex/Wearing tees but not wearing bras." This train doesn't completely derail, however, until the second-to-last track, "Food Play," about having sex while eating cheeseburgers. Jigsaw is, on the whole, equally unappetizing.

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Ben Westhoff

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