A combo of Drake and Emily Dickinson


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Dessa is a poet, an author, a rapper, a singer, an educator, a streetwise philosopher, and an overall artist with a powerful voice (on and off the page) and dexterity for nailing the right notes among all things stylishly literary. 

Proudly hailing from Minneapolis and representing one-seventh of massive-sounding indie hip-hop (with “punk in the muck”) conglomerate Doomtree, Dessa will bring her raw verses and commanding stage presence to the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., at 9 p.m. today. Admission is $12.

Since July, Dessa has been touring the release of her new album, Parts of Speech, which has gathered impressive reviews from critics as well as a play from the highly particular NPR podcast “All Songs Considered.”

Parts of Speech is Dessa’s third studio album following Castor, the Twin (2011) and A Badly Broken Code (2010). 

Dessa has a natural, fluid, incandescent ability to seamlessly juxtapose the raw and brash candor hip-hop demands with delicate, thoughtful, and pathos-loaded tracks — a seemingly innate skill she’s been successful with throughout her career. 

Eluding genre classification, she is capable of using her voice as a vehicle in generating vivid illustrations, making her style accessible for the hip-hop heads of the coasts to the easy listening adult crowds to the lit buffs in Iowa City.

Dessa has a BA in Philosophy from the University of Minnesota and has taught literature and creative writing at the collegiate level. She is also the author of Spiral Bound, a collection of short essays and poetry.

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