A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Lady Sovereign is one of the most refreshing new voices in popular music today. She's also a voice peppered with expletives, brand-name product placement, and references to drugs and drinking. But this is one case where the writing, performance, and presentation are worth a bit of discomfort and/or discussion.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
PUBLIC WARNING makes it clear that nothing about Lady Sovereign (aka Louise Harman) is ordinary. A terrific rapper, she's also tiny, English, clever, and in your face. Calling herself \"the white midget,\" she delivers rapid-fire lyrics with energy -- over marvelous instrumental tracks that veer wildly from minimalist rhythms to elaborate, circus-y themes and back again. \"My England\" is a sideways portrait of London, her home town: \"It ain't about the tea and biscuits/I'm one of the English misfits/I don't drink tea I drink spirits/and I talk a lot of slang in my lyrics,\" she sings, going on to rhyme \"crumpets\" with \"slum pits.\" In \"Those Were the Days,\" the Lady delivers a poignant and gritty picture of her childhood in the projects: \"Those days I'm missin'... back then well I kinda had less/but less was much better coz it saved a lot of stress.\"
Is it any good?
The subject matter varies, but most of the songs are self-revelatory, self-deprecating, self-aware, and -- despite a heavy sprinkling of expletives, bathroom humor, and references to drugs and drinking -- absolutely charming. Throughout Public Warning Lady Sovereign lets us know, with intelligence, wit, and a loud raspberry, that she's here and she's not going away.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes Lady Sovereign different. She's not a voluptuous beauty, and she's outrageous and outspoken; it's obvious that she isn't capable of being anything but herself. What would it be like if more artists expressed their individuality this way? What sets her apart from her fellow hip-hop artists?