Brandy Li

Nothing to Lose

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Lady Sovereign got all the press in 2005, but as it turned out, her album was -- to quote a line from its centerpiece track "The Battle" -- "warmed-over Ms. Dynamite." Chattanooga Tennessee's Brandy Li is a self-described "small thin white bitch," but unlike her U.K. counterpart, she has both talent on the mic and a lyrical point of view. Like some kind of cross between Eminem and Shelby Lynne, Brandy Li had a traumatic childhood culminating in the murder of her mother by her father (unflinchingly recounted in the album's emotional high point "Pain"), but she feels no need to be thought of as a victim. Indeed, the persona on Nothing to Lose could only be more confrontational if Brandy Li actually came by your house while the record was on and slapped you around. The beats are adequate but fairly generic; this isn't necessarily a bad thing since the attention is on Brandy Li's rhymes, smack-downs, and rude jokes throughout, but it might become a problem further along in her career, once the freshness and shock of this debut has worn off.

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