Press Releases

Doomtree emcee Dessa announces new album Parts of Speech


On June 25th, Dessa will release her new album Parts of Speech on Doomtree Records, the label arm of Minneapolis hip-hop collective Doomtree. The 12-song collection finds “one of the most diverse and talented artists in indie rap” (URB) perfecting the sound she’s been honing for nearly a decade — “a combination of Jean Grae and William Blake, or maybe Drake and Emily Dickinson,” as MTV Iggy describes it.

As Doomtree’s first (and only) female emcee, Dessa established herself as a highly literate and imaginative lyricist with debut full-length A Badly Broken Code, which earned praise from NPR and The Seattle Times and made The A.V. Club’s top 20 albums of 2010. Follow-up Castor, The Twin comprised an “enchanting” (Chicago Tribune) reinterpretation of many of those previously released songs through chamber orchestration. Now, on Parts of Speech, the Twin Cities native strikes a compelling balance between the electronic and organic, combining innovative hip-hop beats with multi-layered instrumentation and laying the groundwork for her uniquely expressive rap-sing and whip-smart songwriting.

Armed with a University of Minnesota philosophy degree and experience as a college lecturer on songwriting, Dessa often finds ways to extract meaning from the mundane. On “Call Off Your Ghost,” she alternates between quick lyrical patterns and longer, soulful vocal passages to describe making peace with a former lover’s new partner, admitting to her ex that when she crosses paths with her replacement, “It’s just a lot to ask to watch your future walking past me.” “Skeleton Key” represents what might be the evolution of that situation: “I haven’t met a locked door yet that I couldn’t beat,” she sings, and when she insists “don’t waste your worry on me, I always find what I need,” you don’t doubt her.

Her unique perspective and verbal prowess — she’s also a spoken-word artist and author of a volume of essays and poetry — earned Dessa an invitation to appear at last year’s Nobel Peace Prize Forum, where she spoke on misogyny and homophobia in hip-hop. As for her concerts, “there’s something fascinating about her performances,” says Details Magazine, who heralded Dessa following a set at this year’s SXSW. Her “Early Words Tour,” which includes a New York City residency, kicks off this month (dates below, with more to be announced soon).

Parts of Speech is also available for pre-order:

Dessa 2013 Tour Dates:
4/30 – Buffalo, NY @ The Ninth Ward at Babeville
5/01 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
5/03 – Burlington, VT @ BCA Center
5/04 – Wilmington, DE @ World Café Live at The Queen
5/05 – Portland, ME @ SPACE Gallery
5/06 – Northampton, MA @ Iron Horse Music Hall
5/07 – Cambridge, MA @ TT The Bears
5/08 – Brooklyn, NY @ Union Hall
5/09 – Fairfield, CT @ StageOne at Fairfield Theatre Company
5/10 – Arlington, VA @ IOTA Club & Café
5/12— Carrboro, NC @ Local 506
5/13 – New York, NY @ SubCulture Arts
5/14 – Sellersville, PA @ Sellersville Theater 1894
5/16 – Pontiac, MI @ The Crofoot (Pike Room)