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Speech Therapy
Speech Debelle Speech Therapy
Released June 2009
Producer Wayne Lotek
Label Big Dada
Length 51:16
Genre Rap, hip hop
Website www.speechdebelle.com

To be fair the only person that thought Speech Debelle would win the Mercury Music Prize, was Speech Debelle. When the little known MC won, beating I might add some stiff competition in the shape of Bat for Lashes and The Horrors, most people put it down to the Mercury Prize judges doing what they’re known for, steering clear of the obvious in favour of the unknown. Maybe this is why Miss Debelle won. Erroneous to that is the fact that this is simply a brilliant album.

Speech is a wordsmith and on Speech Therapy she shows how good she is. Brutally honest at times, her subject matter drifts throughout, dealing with love, loneliness, success and lack thereof. One highlight is ‘Daddies little Girl’ a track dedicated to the father Debelle never knew. One feels that dealing with such heavy subject matter is a form of therapy for the MC.

Although Speech owes her success to her ability to rap about her world in a poetic manner that seems alien to today’s rap scene, the fact that each track is wrapped up in melodic beats, again not conventional to rap, propels the album further. From opening track ‘Searching’ to the title track ‘Closer’, the album moves freely from start to finish. Much like the fluidity of the MC lyrics it never hits the stereotypical lows of a self-indulgent rapper. More Jurassic 5 and The Roots than anything else, Speech Therapy deserves your full attention. In a year when the Mercury Music Prize could have gone to several different artists, Speech Therapy is a worthy winner.

- David Prendergast