Lady Sovereign Hits American Freeways

Feisty new U.K. MC teams up with the Streets for first-ever trek

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After a successful performance to an overflow crowd at this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in the California desert, hip-hop newcomer Lady Sovereign will kick off a round of U.S. tour next month, opening for fellow British MC the Streets (a.k.a. Mike Skinner). The trek comes in advance of her much-anticipated debut LP, Public Warning, due stateside in August, and includes stops at major festivals such as Intonation and Lollapalooza.

As for the tour, Sovereign -- complete with signature side-ponytail -- plays down the hype, saying backstage at Coachella, "I'm a special guest there, so nobody really knows I'm there." She looks forward to touring with Skinner, who she worked with on a remix of his song, "Fit But You Know It."

"He's a decent bloke," says Sovereign. "I'd love to work with him properly, rather than just doing a remix . . . I'd love to collaborate with him on something fresh."

Thanks to several EP releases, fans of Sovereign's rapid-fire flow already know her early singles, including the bonkers track "Random." But in recent live performances, the Lady's unveiled new material -- such as the furious "Tango." At Coachella, the rapper dedicated the angsty anthem to a "moldy bitch" who "disrespected" her.

While Lady Sov's all done in the studio, she's still not sure which tracks will make the U.S. edition of Public Warning. "It's going to be slightly different, because you lot are a bit harsh!" she says. "[It's like,] 'What's she talking about?' I've got to keep it nice."

But for American ears not prepared for her rough-and-ready approach, the Lady's got one thing to say: "I don't give a shit . . . if I can say 'shit!'"