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"He's not here to please people," says Dessa, illustrating her points with her hands. "He's here to fulfill his own vision, and I think watching him set his own course has emboldened me the occasion to say to any business person or reporter, 'I'm sorry that I'm not impressing you, that I'm not pleasing you with this answer, but my job really, fundamentally, isn't to please you.' I have a hard time doing that. It's a learned step."
Maybe Parts of Speech is purposely not for everyone then. It's certainly not a record for the background, and while the production is expert, it's aggressive. The argument against Dessa has always been that for a rapper, her music doesn't have enough hip-hop; in certain circles, she is given more credit for her academics than for her art. It often seems that the first point of fascination with Dessa is the fact that she's a female rap star, but after three albums, that's an old thread.
Most of all, she is not concerned with appealing to perceptions of her identity.
Dessa will perform on Saturday, June 29, at First Avenue; 612.332.1775
"I think if I worried a lot about 'This is what people think I stand for,' then I'd either get a big head or make bad music," she asserts. "So I try as much as I can to keep my thoughts in genuine music, and trust that people who like it will gravitate towards it and people who are not really feeling it will find something else that they like."