Review Summary: Whilst only being a five track EP, Dessa still uses False Hopes to showcase all of her skills
Maggie Wander AKA Dessa/Dessa Darling is a female emcee, singer and poet from Minneapolis Minnesota. She is part of the hip-hop collective Doomtree, which also features P.O.S. among its numbers. False Hopes
is Dessa’s first individual release after guesting on a number of tracks on previous Doomtree albums.
Whilst only being a five track EP, Dessa still uses False Hopes
to showcase all of her skills. This includes switching between rapid fire, multiple-syllable rapping (Mineshaft) to melodic singing (Kites),both of which are performed solidly and with enough emotion and conviction to compel the listener. As with P.O.S.' style of blending hip-hop with his punk and rock influences, False Hopes
shows Dessa’s similar influences. The beats are primarily drum based and occasionally feature samples, although the backing is overall subdued with the main focus being on the vocal performances.
Another aspect of Dessa's style which may interest fans of P.O.S. is the lyrical content. Dessa steers away from the lyrical topics heard in mainstream hip-hop and prefers to draw on personal aspect, social issues and politics. Whilst this is nothing revolutionary it works well with Dessa’s delivery style and gives the tracks an interesting mood angle and despite the downcast approach to the lyrics there are still vocal and musical hooks to be found, keeping the songs interesting and re-listenable. A number of Doomtree members (Cecil Otter, Sims) also guest on some tracks which helps in bringing some diversity to the EP, not that it’s needed; the five tracks all have their own parts which define them (the choruses in “Mineshaft” and “Everything Floats”, the mostly sung track ambient-esque track “Kites” and the slightly more upbeat backing track in “Press On”) the guest parts just help to add to the appeal of the EP.
With all the tracks running at under and around three minutes long, False Hopes
passes by in around a quarter of an hour but still manages to offer listeners a brief taste of what Dessa has to offer. Which is a solid female emcee with rhymes and a delivery style to rival her male peers, whilst also adding in some catchy melodic singing parts and is short enough to leave them wanting more. The EP also shows that Dessa certainly has a lot of talent and suggests that a future full length release will definitely be worth hearing.