Princess Superstar - Manchester Hop & Grape - 23.2.02

She may be female, but Princess Superstar has more balls than a lot of her contemporaries in a male dominated industry. You could address he as rap royalty. Although countless people would disagree the only comparison to Eminem is Detroit, the place where both of them were born. After all the Princess is a Superstar in her own right and with "Bad Babysitter" riding high in the charts and a recently signed European record deal with Ministry Of Sound, she is well on the way to having her most successful year yet. Surprisingly the venue is only half full, but in true hip-hop style the atmosphere is buzzing and were all expecting a night to remember. Dressed casually in black trousers and T-shirt, Princess Superstar is joined on stage by the enigmatic and laid back MC Twist and augmented by a DJ and bass player.

"Wet Wet Wet" is thankfully not a tribute to the Scottish ballad band, but  perhaps not unsurprisingly one of her Sex drenched rhymes with a hard-core attention to detail. A great track, but unlikely to get played on daytime radio without a heavily edited version as back-up. During the performance of "You Get Mad At Napster" technical difficulties ensued. Ever a true professional she keeps her cool, laughs it off and carries on with an alternative accapella version. "Freakazoid" is a rap metal overload and samples Snaps "I've Got The Power" and is the heaviest most extreme song played tonight.

"Bad Babysitter" is performed early on in the set and while its the song that everyone has come to hear, its doesn't receive the most rapturous applause. That arrives when yet more problems with the sound come to a head when DJ Alexander Technique has difficulties with his decks on the Sesame Street sampling "Welcome To My World". Its rescued by Twists freestylin' rapping which is totally improvised and marks him out as a star in his own right.

One of the most memorable gigs of the past twelve months from a hip-hop artist who will be massive next time she tours the UK.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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