Lily Allen is a pop sensation in the UK, where she’s already hit number one with her single “Smile.” Set to chipper, ska-inflected beats, Allen’s songs hide a sharp wit and a dark worldview. Though she doesn’t rap, her lyrical rhythms and density are informed by hip-hop, and there are hints of The Streets and Lady Sovereign in her music — Allen has the dour intelligence of the former and the charm of the latter — as well as a touch of Dawn from The Office.
I first heard of Allen through Sasha Frere-Jones in The New Yorker. You can hear a great deal of Allen’s music on her website, and also catch a couple of videos. And the MP3s are from Aurgasm, which may well be where Lily Allen first heard that fantastic Professor Longhair piano riff before turning it into the backing for “Knock ‘Em Out.”