The surprise winner of Britain's 2009 Mercury Music Prize, Speech Debelle's Speech Therapy is an intriguing mass of cryptic contradictions. Debelle is a rapper, but her music is not hip-hop; her autobiographical lyrics talk of homelessness and family estrangement, yet she admits to a comfortable — if fatherless — middle-class upbringing. If anything, Debelle is a performance poet, with engaging tracks like "The Key" and "Better Days" seeing her deliver personal home truths in halting, heartfelt cadences over jazz-inflected acoustic guitar, double bass and percussion. The Mercury failed to lend Speech Therapy the breakthrough it deserved, but Debelle remains a niche artist of talent and distinction.
By Michaelangelo Matos on 02.15.12 in Reviews
If soulful-everywoman Brits can get over big-time inAmericaby speaking tough and plain, as everyone from Amy to Adele has demonstrated, why can't an MC go the same route? Maybe because American hip-hop has become a carto...
By Stuart Turnbull on 05.19.14 in Features
The South London MC talks with Stuart Turnbull about her "bonkers" new album.
By Michaelangelo Matos on 01.23.12 in Reviews
Even for a guy who records constantly, out of habit, like Prince or Guided by Voices or the early, three-album-a-year Beach Boys, Wiley is prone to throwing things together. "This Is Just an Album" is the title of Evolve...
By Dorian Lynskey on 10.03.11 in Reviews
The riots that hit London last month lend an unpredicted frisson of topicality to "Skid Valley," the most sombre track on Roots Manuva's fifth album. "The cost of life's still cheap 'round here but the cost of living ain...