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Lady Sovereign 

Vertically Challenged (Chocolate Industries)

Had Kano's superb Home Sweet Home seen a stateside release this year, grime could have progressed beyond something that's only frequently mentioned by bloggers. Now Lady Sovereign — grime's pint-size, razor-tongued heroine — has supposedly spun her success into closed-door meetings with Interscope. Until the label pays up, however, Americans can enjoy this EP, Vertically Challenged. Lady Sov's straightforward prose and not-particularly-heavy accent should be easily digested by greener grime fans, while old heads will already know "Ch Ching" and the ridiculous "Random (remix)," the latter with choppy 808s and Riko's guest verse from a Brixton jail. "Fiddle with the Volume" is a straight silly ode to pissing off your neighbors (complete with a very British, angry voicemail message from the landlady). And Adrock's remix of "A Little Bit of SHHH" is OK, but it seems tacked on for the sake of namedropping. In the end, Challenged, like Lady Sovereign, is short and intense, but complex and enjoyable enough to tide over grime fans who are sick of downloading.

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More by Andrew Friedman

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