100 Women We Love: Class of 2011

photo by Michael Granberry

British rapper Lady Sovereign’s first single, “Love Me or Hate Me,” sold more than a million units. She was signed to Def Jam by Jay-Z, toured with Gwen Stefani and recorded with Pharrell and The Beastie Boys. But the five-foot-one dynamo soon felt caught in the trappings of fame, her every step scheduled and her every interview edited. Lady Sovereign decided to leave Def Jam and start her own label, Midget Records, in partnership with EMI Music. She teamed up with producer Medasyn to release her second album, Jigsaw, and she publicly came out as lesbian. While branching out on her own, Sovereign remains optimistic about her future as a performer and a record producer. "I've always felt that I've got this weird spiritual energy around me that means I'll be okay, like having a guide. Everything has always happened for a reason, things always worked out in the end," she says. –CM