Rising UK Hip Hop star Speech Debelle has beaten off competition from the likes of La Roux, Kasabian and Florence and The Machine to win the 2009 Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize.
Previous prize winners include Arctic Monkeys, Dizzee Rascal, Suede and Primal Scream. She plays what will no doubt be a very special show in The Stiff Kitten, Belfast, on Friday October 2nd.
The first thing about Speech Debelle that strikes the ear, is a contrast. Her voice is warm, youthful and listenable, and if you heard her in the background you might assume that her lyrics were the same.
You’d be better placed tuning into them. In common with her new label-mate Roots Manuva, she’s astoundingly honest in her music, detailing and exorcising some very personal demons. That isn’t to say she’s another run of the mill rapper with more complaints than insights. Quite the opposite.
Like all musicians worth listening to, she draws you into her universe and makes you glad you visited. There’s always a thaw to the chillier moments. ‘Searching’ is her debut single, and a perfect example of the offbeat, folky production that will litter the forthcoming album, as well as the whisper-in-the-ear quality of her vocals. One thing is certain, hip-hop has never been done in quite this way before. ‘Searching’ makes you wonder why not.
The Stiff Kitten Presents:
Mercury Music Prize Winner 2009
SPEECH DEBELLE (LIVE)
The Stiff Kitten
Friday 2nd October
8pm Doors / Â£7.50 Tickets
Early Show, includes free entry to Medicine club afterwards