This weekend Dessa will embark on her first headlining tour alongside Doomtree brethren Sims and Lazerbeak. Coming off of her wildly-successful full-length debut A Badly Broken Code, the emcee/singer/writer/teacher has enlisted the help of a backing band to expand upon what is already one of the most innovative sounds coming out of the Midwest. It’s been another strong year for the Doomtree collective, highlighted by Dessa’s aforementioned record, Sims’ sophomore effort Bad Time Zoo and Lazerbeak’s genre-bending Legend Recognize Legend. The 21-date Into The Spin Tour, an inspired showcase of DIY indie rap, hits the ground running this Saturday in Sioux Falls.
Dessa of the Doomtree crew took some time out from her busy touring schedule to discuss the past, present and future of her career. From humble origins in the Minneapolis slam poetry scene to selling out shows alongside P.O.S. on the Every Never Is Now Tour, Dessa has emerged as one of the most diverse and talented artists in indie rap. When she’s not on the mic she finds time to write thought-provoking works of creative non-fiction and poetry and teaches a hip hop diploma program at McNally Smith. Also check out the video for “Dixon’s Girl” from her stellar full-length debut A Badly Broken Code at the end of our interview.
URB: Who were your influences when you first got into writing and performing?
DESSA: It was a writer of creative non-fiction named Dave Eggers, who was …
Three of indie rap’s finest rolled into town on Saturday night and left a trail of nodding heads and rhythmically-challenged, drunk collegians in their wake. P.O.S., Grieves and Dessa all delivered stellar performances as they neared the halfway point of the Every Never Is Now Tour, aptly named for the title track refrain and central theme of P.O.S.’s last album, Never Better.
Doomtree’s Dessa started things off with an outstanding set featuring several tracks from A Badly Broken Code and fan favorites such as “Mineshaft” and “Veteran.” She is an artist who captures the sound of her records flawlessly through live performance while leaving room for subtle improvisation. The versatile singer-rapper-poet-teacher transitions from battle raps to beautifully-sung ballads and makes it seem natural. A unique cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” punctuated her all-too-brief set to raucous applause. …MORE