13 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Dessa’s mastery of literary form and hip-hop flow is in full evidence on Parts of Speech, the Minneapolis-based rapper’s third solo album. Those who've followed her work as a member of the Doomtree collective have come to expect both poetic finesse and street smarts from this protean word-slinger. Parts of Speech doesn’t disappoint, giving greater emphasis to Dessa’s caressing singing style and feel for provocative beats. Freely transgressing music-genre boundaries, she fills “Call Off Your Ghost” with wounded anger, radiates battle-scarred strength in “Skeleton Key,” and unleashes a deadly verbal barrage on “Fighting Fish.” Softer, more melancholy numbers like “Annabelle” and “Sound the Bells” are every bit as riveting as the more aggressive tracks. “Beekeeper” (a reworking of a tune on 2011’s Castor, the Twin) captures her at her most delicately lyrical; “Warsaw” reveals her as a full-blown diva radiating dance floor heat. Moving beyond her own material, she turns Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m Going Down” into a quietly devastating revelation.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Dessa’s mastery of literary form and hip-hop flow is in full evidence on Parts of Speech, the Minneapolis-based rapper’s third solo album. Those who've followed her work as a member of the Doomtree collective have come to expect both poetic finesse and street smarts from this protean word-slinger. Parts of Speech doesn’t disappoint, giving greater emphasis to Dessa’s caressing singing style and feel for provocative beats. Freely transgressing music-genre boundaries, she fills “Call Off Your Ghost” with wounded anger, radiates battle-scarred strength in “Skeleton Key,” and unleashes a deadly verbal barrage on “Fighting Fish.” Softer, more melancholy numbers like “Annabelle” and “Sound the Bells” are every bit as riveting as the more aggressive tracks. “Beekeeper” (a reworking of a tune on 2011’s Castor, the Twin) captures her at her most delicately lyrical; “Warsaw” reveals her as a full-blown diva radiating dance floor heat. Moving beyond her own material, she turns Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m Going Down” into a quietly devastating revelation.

TITLE TIME
3:34
3:38
3:11
3:34
3:59
3:45
3:01
3:43
3:55
4:00
3:48
4:20

About Dessa

One of the most well-rounded members of the Minneapolis-based hip-hop collective Doomtree, rapper, singer, writer, and speaker Dessa (aka Dessa Darling, born Margret Wander) first made a name for herself in the world of poetry slams. Later, she formed the group Medida, which introduced her to the musical scene that made her a critical and popular darling of the Twin Cities. Developing her skills as a writer and artist as both an undergrad and Master's student at the University of Minnesota (she would eventually earn both a B.A. and an M.A. in Philosophy), Dessa took her passion for spoken word poetry out into the Minneapolis scene, eventually meeting people (MC Yoni in particular) who would lead her to direct interaction, and eventual membership in, the Doomtree collective. Once she established her skills as an MC in the group, Dessa released a solo EP, False Hopes, in 2005. Widely acclaimed by the local press, the EP made a number of year-end critic lists, and established her as the rising star within Doomtree. Over the next few years, Dessa focused on giving back to Doomtree, appearing on countless solo works as well as the collective's group albums. In 2009, she became the first of the bunch to release a book of her written work, entitled Spiral Bound. This upward movement only increased as 2010 saw the national release of her first solo full-length, A Badly Broken Code. The album, having already created a buzz before its release, won an avalanche of critical acclaim and was a brisk seller in her hometown. The rest of 2010 would find Dessa embarking on a 40-city tour with P.O.S. (also of Doomtree) to support the record. She has appeared at a number of local literary events in the Twin Cities, and worked with the all-female a cappella group the Boy Sopranos. In 2013, she issued Parts of Speech, which peaked within the Top 100 on the Billboard 200. A remix EP, Parts of Speech, Re-Edited, was issued the following year. In 2016, she contributed the song "Congratulations" to the chart-topping The Hamilton Mixtape. ~ Chris True

Top Songs by Dessa

Top Albums by Dessa

Listeners Also Played