Jay-Z has added one of the most unlikely emcees to his Def Jam roster – UK Grime star Lady Sovereign. Keen to expand the Def Jam empire under his reign, Mr. Carter has signed the self-proclaimed “biggest midget in the game." The 19-year-old Lady Sovereign has been making some noise on the UK underground scene for a couple of years now, but has only recently gotten her shine with the release of singles Random, 9 to 5and the new Basement Jaxx-produced single, Hoodie, taken from her Vertically Challenged EP, (now available in the US). The young Sovereign, from Wembley, North West London, is the latest Grime emcee to hit the big time, following in the footsteps of East London’s Dizzee Rascal and Wiley. For those unfamiliar to Grime, the music is something of a subgenre to the UK Garage scene, which reached its peak around 2003 with the emergence of the So Solid Crew and the More Fire Crew. The genre is best known for its raw beats and the rapid-fire delivery of lyrics. Lady Sovereign is largely recognized as being the ‘next big thing’ to break through to the UK mainstream market, and last month caught the attention of Jay-Z at a show in New York. Sovereign soon found herself being whisked away to the Def Jam offices for a meeting with Jigga and L.A. Reid, where she was asked to rhyme on the spot. “I was almost shaking,” she recalls on her website, http://www.ladysovereign.com. “I just did like three lots of 16 bars – a couple of them were freestyles – and then all of a sudden the room was silent. The I could see Jay-Z had this really happy grin on his face and he started whispering to all the other people…” Having now signed to Def Jam, Lady Sovereign can look forward to working with some of the best beat makers in the industry, including Young Guru and Full Force. Her debut album, tentatively titled Public Warning, is scheduled for a Spring 2006 release, and is to be released on Island/Def Jam.