‘Freedom Of Speech’ (Big Dada)
Speech Debelle could be forgiven for cowering from reaction to her second album under the bed with her hands over her ears. However, ‘Freedom Of Speech’ rams a fist down the throats of any Mercury-referencing naysayers. Social commentary (‘Blaze Up A Fire’), emotional nudity (‘Elephant’) and confessional bravery (‘Angel Wings’) illuminate a warm, honest album. A bubbling cauldron of beats and instrumentals excels, Warp signed Kwes’s production the perfect complement to Speech’s beloved hiphop structures. After three frustrating years, ‘Freedom…’ should finally allow Speech Debelle to be taken at face value – as a valuable, innovative voice with plenty to say.