Monday, March 15, 2010

A Badly Broken Code

by Dessa

Dessa starts her first full-length solo album with a poetic spoken-word piece about her family over a lovely beat by MK Larada. From there, she goes into a simple poem sung over layered vocals. This is definitely not a standard hip-hop album, but is instead a showcase for the various talents of this artist.

A Badly Broken Code holds within it a wide range of emotions, moods, and levels of aggression, as Dessa demonstrates (yet again) why the Doomtree crew deserves much more attention than it gets.

'Dixon's Girl' is an interesting song, recounting her meeting with a fellow musician who was struggling within her relationship. The later song 'Alibi' usese the same storytelling skills.

Dessa returns to ground covered on her False Hopes disk with 'Mine Shaft II', where she once again displays her lyrical skill, and shifts from rapping to singing and back again over a lush Cecil Otter beat.

Perhaps the loveliest song on the album is 'The Chaconne', a song featuring vocals by Matthew Santos, that appears to be about a love she felt for an older musician, who had no time for her or his own family. Similar to this are songs like 'Go Home' and 'Momento Mori'.

'Seamstress' and 'Dutch' are softer versions of the type of songs I've gotten used to hearing her appear on with the rest of the Doomtree crew. They are somewhat gentler than her group work, although still proof she can spit with the best of them. 'The Bullpen' has her addressing the rarity of women in hip-hop, and speaking openly about what it's like to be the only woman in her crew, but on 'Crew', she declares her love for the guys. The album ends similarly to the second track, with a sung poem that is simply lovely.

The production, by Doomtree stalwarts Larada, Lazerbeak, Otter, Paper Tiger and joined by Big Jess and Ronin on one track each, is as varied as Dessa's subject matter and choice of style. This is a lush, well-made album by a very talented artist.

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