Hip-Hop's Next Big Thing 'Fine, Fresh, Serious'

Sure, her life wasn't all hard, but don't write her off as a rapper
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2009 1:43 PM CDT
Speech Debelle is shown in a photo from her MySpace page.   (MySpace)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – “Even in a ‘post-race’ world, street sells,” writes Amy Granzin for Pitchfork. That would explain why some looked at Speech Debelle—the once-homeless UK rapper turned Mercury Prize nominee and "hip-hop's next big thing"—and spun “a tiny bit of flash into blinding bling.” The truth is, Debelle had a middle-class, “girl-next-door” upbringing—but don’t write her off. Her debut, Speech Therapy, is “fine, fresh, serious (yet never dour),” and it “speaks for itself.”

“The title’s no feint: Speech lies supine on the couch for the full 50 minutes,” exploring topics from “the anguish she’s caused her mother” to “absent, irresponsible fathers and the children who tear their own insides out loving them”—and although she occasionally veers from “pacifist and optimistic” to naïve, “she generally cuts through the crap without pretending to have easy answers.”