Derailed: Dessa – Badly Broken Code

Every so often I will be posting under the ‘Derailed’ heading. This is for posts that are outside my normal comfort area…indie rock/pop.

Dessa is a part of the Doomtree hip-hop collective out of Minneapolis.  As I have mentioned before, this collective is associated with the Rhymesayers label and consists of underground or alternative hip-hop artists that take more influence from the punk or hardcore scene than they do from rap music.  Fugazi is cited as an influence quite a bit more than 2Pac or Biggie.

In this mostly male dominated collective, Dessa really stands out from the crowd.  I first discovered her when I went to see Doomtree‘s founder, P.O.S, at The Marquis Theatre earlier this month.  Dessa was one of the opening acts and she impressed the sold-out crowd even though most had never heard of her.

Though I was impressed with her live performance, I didn’t think I would really get into her recorded work.  But once again, I was wrong.  I have to admit I am a fan of AniDiFranco ‘s work in the early 90s and Dessa is a hip-hop/r&b version of Ani.  There are so many similiarities that it’s eeire.  She spits out angry spoken-word lyrics and then starts giggling like a school girl.  Her lyrics have a purpose and she’s not affraid to make sure you get it!  If I had not see her live, I would have sworn Ani went rap when I heard this album.  Their voices are almost identical at times.

Dessa does have a lighter feel though and at times her inner Ani gives way to Lauryn Hill, another obvious influence.  This makes sense.  Surrounded by musicians that mix Bad Religion with A Tribe Called Quest every day, it would make sense that the female member of the crew would mix DiFranco with Fugees.

Give her a chance…she’s worth it.