I’ve always been a fan of political hip-hop; A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy, and De La Soul all taken in preference over Dr. Dre, Tupac, and Jay-Z. Likewise, it is no secret that I enjoy the singer-songwriter genre as well, largely due to the power of their written words.
What a nice surprise my next assignment was.
Part poet, part hip-hop artist, all awesome. Dessa, part of the Minneapolis based Doomtree Hip-hop Collective, has created something special with her latest “Castor, The Twin.” It’s without the raw and sometimes filthy delivery style favoured by today’s rappers, but with a voice like hers it would only serve to cheapen the tracks.
I ended up listening to this album 3 times before sitting down to write about it (usually I shoot for some hastily scribbled notes on first play to get me started). Every time, “Dixon’s Girl” just floored me. The bluesy intro sets up her story, and the story is captivating. At one point you feel Dessa just has to run out of breath, and yet she doesn’t. If you took Fiona Apple and asked her to cover a Buck 65 track, this would be a close approximation to the result. It works.
As for the rest of the album, “Mineshaft” really demonstrates her abilities about a minute and a half in, in both content and delivery, and is another highlight. “Alibi” is about as gritty as it gets on “Castor, The Twin”, and at the other end of the scale the very next track, “Palace”, is a piano laden balladesque, with sultry vocals.
I really was blown away by Dessa Darling’s style, her range, and the sheer quality of her art. If you’re looking for something different, definitely give this a spin. You won’t regret it.