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  • Mercury Music Awards 2009 @ Grosvenor House Hotel, London 8/9/09 1
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Speech Debelle

Just today people were talking about big money bets coming in for Speech Debelle to win the Mercury Prize, and what do you know, the British rapper rode Ladbrokes’ 4/1 odds and the votes of the Mercury High Council Of Accomplished Elders to bag the coveted, Barclays-sponsored music prize. When she won everybody yelled “Speech!” but it was unclear if they were cheering her on or telling her to address the ballroom. Speech’s Speech Therapy edged out a worthy nominee in Bat For Lashes’ Two Suns. Oh, and everybody else I guess? (Everybody else includes Florence & The Machine, La Roux, the Horrors, Kasabian, et al.) Debelle collected the award at a ceremony tonight in London featuring performances from most of the 12 nominees (Glasvegas had to cancel for illness.) And as for Speech, well she’s a 26-year-old south London native whose whole world just got a little more interesting. Here she is in action in the video for “Better Days,” with (the completely snubbed) Micachu.

Congrats, Speech.

And from the event, Bat For Lashes:

Comments (23)
  1. cpt  |   Posted on Sep 8th, 2009 0

    i can’t believe julian plenti didn’t win…

  2. “And some other people.” Made me laugh. But sad! No love for Florence?

  3. NotManyExperts  |   Posted on Sep 8th, 2009 0

    boo. the 45 year old panel desperately trying to appaear young.

    The Invisible should have won. Friendly Fires should have won. Flo Mac should have won. Bat For Lashes should have won. Speech Debelle shouldn’t even have been nominated.

    • She’s probably OLDER than all of the people you just mentioned. Hell, probably one of the oldest among all the nominees.

  4. Sean Jean  |   Posted on Sep 8th, 2009 0

    Dear Mercury Prize,

    You’re trying too hard.

  5. tommy  |   Posted on Sep 8th, 2009 0

    this was the only album nominated for the mercury prize that i hadnt heard of when the nominations came out. and this was the only album that i absolutely ABHORRED out of the nominees (after i listened to it, of course). so this was a really out of left-field win for me. dont agree with it at all.

    friendly fires should have won. best on the list, no doubt. bat for lashes…excellent. florence and the machine…awesome. glasvegas…great.

    im really disappointed. they nailed it with elbow last year. they didnt get it right this year, im afraid.

  6. Whoooo? I pass.

    I don’t see this one getting the Elbow treatment.

  7. Mike Kalil  |   Posted on Sep 8th, 2009 0

    This is like when Lady Dynamite won, and then disappeared.

  8. Snap! I forgot who was even nominated. Damn.

  9. Skare Kreau  |   Posted on Sep 8th, 2009 0

    I am fine with the Horrors not winning for Primary Colours because of the fact that Radiohead has never won. Before you think and speak condescendingly of/to me for mentioning the Horrors in the same sentence as Radiohead read my next sentence. In MY OPINION, I can’t think of any other recent British band who has made such a similar leap from first album to second album. I like Strange House but I didn’t feel the album lived up to the hype they were receiving at the time. I believe that Primary Colours is something to shout about, though. My only problem with the CD is that I wish it wasn’t mastered to DAMN LOUD all the time.

  10. janet  |   Posted on Sep 8th, 2009 0

    pretentious prize. flo should have won..

  11. jbernard  |   Posted on Sep 9th, 2009 0

    why is everyone so cynical? hey, i think it is a rather good song, and though i did not give the other nominees a good listen, i know that i may not agree with the decision to give Speech the nod, but i wont chastise her (deliberately or inadvertently), nor will i suggest that her talent is subpar, it may not be my taste. congrats to Speech.

  12. I think it’s the right choice. This wasn’t a the greatest year for British music. Nominating Kasabian, The Horrors and La Roux was quite odd to begin with and actually awarding the prize to something with integrity kinda made up for it.

    • tessa  |   Posted on Sep 12th, 2009 0

      Sorry, but i have to disagree. This was a great year for music in the UK — lots of innovative albums released eg;, Grammatics, ASIWYFA, FOTL, Rolo Tomassi to name a few. Too bad none of them were nominated.

      Instead, we got a shortlist of bands shamelessly hyped by NME and Q — Glasvegas, Bat For Lashes, Florence & the Machine, Kasabian, The Horrors, Friendly Fires — and a couple of token folk and rap/hip hop artists. The nominated albums were ok, but certainly not the most groundbreaking music coming out of the UK this year.

      Judging by the comments on here, i’d say Stereogum readers need to look more closely into what they missed out on last year.

  13. um  |   Posted on Sep 9th, 2009 0

    Florence doesnt even write her own songs. Fuck off she should have won. She is on island, who got her in with songwriters for 6 months. In the end i believe they had over 90 songs to choose from for the album. Over my dead body is that worthy of any prizes. (Except maybe to isalnds a&r department.)

    • janet  |   Posted on Sep 12th, 2009 0

      Florence wrote most (if not ALL) of the songs on the album before she was on island. I have the demos of those songs if you some evidence. Cunt.

  14. Andy Pants  |   Posted on Sep 9th, 2009 0

    give it to a well-known artist and they’ve sold out. give it to an unknown and they’re pretenious. damned if they do and damned if they dont. i was pleased they gave it to an unknown although having listened to her album she isnt that good.

  15. Steve  |   Posted on Sep 9th, 2009 0

    Yeah!! I second Julian Plenti. Julian Plenti, Julian Casablancas, or Sasha Fierce!

  16. Avant jazz outfit Led Bib was by far the best entrant. Look outside the box.

  17. Geoff  |   Posted on Sep 10th, 2009 0

    After watching that video, I honestly would rather listen to the latest Kid Cudi than hear another of Speech’s shite.

  18. Dan  |   Posted on Sep 11th, 2009 0

    Her beating out N.Khan wouldn’t be such a travesty if Speech’s rhymes were well crafted-they’re not-and the music itself was worthwhile-it isn’t. They probably chose her because of the social issues she both represents and raps about. (A boring and artistically bankrupt decision, from my point of view.) Natasha nails lyrics, music, and vocal delivery. I guess she’s just a bit too quirky and offbeat to win.

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