Dessa On the Mic

Rob Hanson

The Twin Cities’ first lady of hip-hop, Dessa – a solo artist and member of the Doomtree collective – is bringing a taste of the Midwest’s finest flow to Eau Claire on Thursday, April 17, with a performance that includes Rhymesayers special guests Toki Wright & Big Cats. While many know her as the Bangarang Gang’s energetic emcee, Dessa’s jazzy style and signature blend of rap, spoken word, and all-out ballads has garnered major critical acclaim for her solo works and even landed her the position of adjunct professor of hip-hop at St. Paul’s McNally Smith College of Music. A former philosophy student and medical manual writer turned wordsmith extraordinaire, Dessa has released three full-length solo albums. Last year’s Parts of Speech, her most recent effort, was called “enchanting” by The Chicago Tribune, and her work has been described as having “the dry wit of Dorothy Parker and the beat of Mos Def” by Minnesota Public Radio. “I wanted to investigate the idea that a cohesive record isn’t always made cohesive by having 12 songs that sound the same. I figured when you make a mixtape for a friend, you can get away with a range of genres and a lot of dynamic change. Why can’t I approach an album like that?” Dessa said of the album in an interview posted on the Doomtree website. “This record involves multiple narratives. It explores the same themes of love, loss, connection, and communion as a lot of my work, but the angle and lens through which they’re explored sets this album apart from my previous ones.” The Eau Claire show will be a precursor to a special Record Store Day re-release of Dessa’s sophomore album Castor, The Twin on vinyl for the first time on Doomtree Records.

Dessa • 9pm (doors open at 8pm), Thursday, April 17 • House of Rock, 422 Water St. • $15 in advance, $20 at the door • 21 plus •

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